RWANDA'S U-17 team heads to Calabar, Nigeria, today, ahead of two friendly matches against Golden Eaglets of Nigeria slated for August 31 and September 2.
Talking to Times Sport yesterday, assistant coach Aloys Kanamugire said, "The sole reason for playing against Nigeria is to help our players gain exposure and experience in time for the (African Youth Championships) qualifiers in October."
"We have tried to assemble a strong team of skilled players and engaged them in local friendly matches as a way of helping them to improve their game," added Kanamugire.
In three warm-up matches, the junior wasps managed a 2-2 draw against SC Kiyovu before losing to La Jeunesse 1-3 and AS Kigali 0-.
The team boast by Coventry striker Seff Murenzi, Orléans defender Pacifique Shema and Blaise Itangishaka who features for Aspire Academy in Senegal, while the rest of the players drafted into the team are local-based players.
Rwanda will be using the two friendly matches to prepare the national team for next month's 2013 African Under-17 Championship qualifier against the winner between Malawi and Botswana.
Nigeria will also be using the two encounters against Rwanda to test their Golden Eaglets ahead of the first round qualifier against Niger.
Besides being the host of the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2009, Nigeria's cadet side struggled to qualify for the last edition of the World Cup held in Mexico after the team was dumped out by the Democratic Republic of Congo at the first hurdle.
Nigeria is a three-time winner following victories in 1985, 1993 and 2007.
The match between Rwanda and Malawi/Botswana will be held on the weekend of October 12-14.
Last year, Rwanda reached the final of the U-17 African Championship only to lose to Burkina Faso 2-1 but earned maiden qualification to compete at the Fifa U-17 World Cup held in Mexico.
Bertrand Iradukunda, Innocent Twagirimana, Djihad Bizimana, Seff Murenzi, Pacifique Shema, Fitina Omborenga, Patrick Isingizwe, Yves Kimenyi, Abdoul Rwatubyaye, Latif Bishira, Jean Luc Bisangwa, Fidele Inshuti, Jean d'Amour Ishimwe, Rachid Kalisa, Ibrahim Nshimiyimana, Anderson Neza, Fiston Nkinzingabo, Yves Rwigema, Patrick Sibomana and Blaise Itangishaka.
Richard Tardy, Aloys Kanamugire, Thierry Hitimana, Radjabu Muhabura, Jean Claude Tuyishime, Felix Nzeyimana and Felicite Rwemalika
Nigeria vs Rwanda
Nigeria vs Rwanda