13 June 2012

Rwanda/Nigeria: 'Baby' Doubtful for Nigeria Return Leg

Amavubi doctor Musa Hakizimana has indicated that Elias 'Baby' Uzamukunda is a serious doubt for Saturday's 2013 Africa Nations Cup return leg qualifier against Nigeria. The AS Cannes striker is in a race against time to regain match fitness after sustaining a knee injury in Sunday's 2014 Fifa World Cup Group H qualifier against Benin which ended in a 1-all draw at Amahoro Stadium.

Hakizimana insists that Baby is recovering well from the injury but admits that the 21-year-old's chances of making the match squad for the Super Eagles' game look slim. "We are doing our best to make him fit," he told Focus Sports. "He suffered a knock on his right knee and while he has made good progress, we are not optimistic about his involvement in the Nigeria qualifier."

Baby, who broke into the Amavubi fold back in 2007, has scored three goals in seven appearances.

That said, Eric Gasana's availability is a welcome relief for Amavubi coach Milutin 'Micho' Sredojevic. The APR center-back was brought off in the final 10 minutes against Benin after suffering a knock in his left thigh but has been passed fit for the crucial match.

After a goalless draw in the first leg, Rwanda needs a win or score draw to progress to the next round. Nigeria head into the match low in confidence following Sunday's 1-all draw in a 2014 Fifa World Cup qualifier against Malawi.

The Super Eagles took the lead with only minutes to go in Blantyre but then conceded an equaliser in stoppage time.

Joseph Yobo, Osaze Odemwingie and John Obi Mikel were overlooked by Stephen Keshi and it remains to be seen if they will play a part this Friday. The match will be held in Calabar; 485km from the Nigerian capital Abuja.

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