Rwanda Focus (Kigali)

Rwanda: Leaky Defence Worries Micho

Amavubi head coach Milutin 'Micho' Sredojevic concedes that his side has a lot of work to do defensively ahead of this year's Cecafa Tusker Senior Challenge Cup which kicks off this Saturday in Kampala.

The Serbian's remarks come after last week's 2-2 draw against Namibia's Brave Warriors at Amahoro Stadium.

Micho said he was disappointed with his 'fragile' defense, adding that the players need to be more solid if Rwanda is to end its 12-year wait for a second Cecafa title.

"Defensively we looked fragile, especially in the second half. In the first half, it wasn't so much because we weren't challenged that much," Micho said in his post-match interview. "We have a lot of work to do as a unit to defend much better."

Having taken a two-goal lead after 66 minutes, Rwanda seemed like they were on their way to a comfortable victory but lackluster defending in the final twenty minutes gave the Brave Warriors two goals.

"We switched off before the job was done. We need to learn to kill off matches and hold onto wins," Micho observed. "It's still a learning process for some of the boys. I played most of the defenders to see who is ready and who is not but overall, I think we still have a lot of work to do."

Amavubi started with a back four of Girinshuti Mwerere, Steven Godfroid Kunduma, Emery Bayisenge and Salomon Nirisarike. Mid-way through the second half, Fabrice Twagizimana and Hamdan Bariyanga were also given some valuable playing time.

On a positive note, Micho was delighted to see Amavubi finding the net again. Jimmy Mbaraga and Elias 'Baby' Uzamukunda scored the goals on the day; the first time Namibia had conceded two goals since August, 2010.

He also hailed the creative impact of Sina Jerome and Haruna Niyonzima who were integral in setting up the goals.

Tough group

Rwanda will open their Challenge Cup campaign with a stern test against Malawi on November 26. The Cosafa side, which was preferred to Cameroon and Zimbabwe as a last minute replacement for Djibouti, is making a third appearance in the competition which dates back to 1926.

On November 29, the Wasps take on Zanzibar before winding up their Group C campaign with a tie against Eritrea on December 1.

In Group A which has been touted as the 'group of death', reigning champions Uganda open their title defense against Kenya's Harambee Stars on November 24 while Ethiopia entertain debutants and Fifa's newest members South Sudan. The four teams share 21 Cecafa championships amongst them with Uganda leading at 12, Kenya 5 and Ethiopia 4 times.

Group B pits 2007 champions Sudan against Tanzania, Burundi and Somalia.

At the end of the group stage, the top two teams from each group together with the best two third placed teams will qualify for the quarter-finals slated for December 3 - 4. This will be followed by the semi-finals on December 6 and the final two days later.

The tournament will be broadcast live on Supersport.

Last year, Amavubi romped to the final only to lose to the Uganda Cranes in penalty shoot-outs. It was the fifth time Rwanda had lost in the final.

GROUPS

GROUP A - Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan

GROUP B - Tanzania, Sudan, Burundi and Somalia

GROUP C - Malawi, Eritrea, Rwanda and Zanzibar

FULL FIXTURES:

Group A Fixtures

November 24: Ethiopia v Sudan: Uganda v Kenya

November 27: South Sudan v Kenya: Uganda v Ethiopia

November 30: Kenya v Ethiopia: South Sudan v Uganda

Group B fixtures

November 25: Burundi v Somalia: Tanzania v Sudan

November 28: Somalia v Sudan: Tanzania v Burundi

December 1: Sudan v Burundi: Somalia v Tanzania

Group C fixtures

November 26: Zanzibar v Eritrea: Rwanda v Malawi

November 29: Malawi v Eritrea: Rwanda v Zanzibar

December 1: Malawi v Zanzibar: Eritrea v Rwanda

Quarter finals fixtures: December 3rd and 4th

Semi-finals: December 6th

Finals: December 8th

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