The New Times (Kigali)

28 January 2013

Rwanda Can Take Heart From Algeria, Mali and Nigeria

Photo: HCR/Y.Djigo
Displaced by conflict in Mali.

Rwanda did not qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations 2013 but even her opponents in Group H of the Fifa World Cup Brazil 2014 qualifyiers, Algeria and Mali have been exposed, while Nigeria, which eliminated Amavubi is struggling in South Africa.

Algeria, whith three points, one behind group leaders Benin in the race to qualify for the next World Cup, has been ignominiously eliminated from the Afcon tournament after losing the opening two games in Group D to Ivory Coast and Togo respectively.

Whereas Ivory Coast continues to show why it was billed as pre-tournament favourites for the title, Algeria became the first team to exit from the tournament.

Saturday's results mean Ivory Coast leads the group with six points and cannot finish lower than second.

Both Togo and Tunisia have three points and only one of them will join Ivory Coast into the quarterfinals as the Algerians get an early flight back home.

Another opponent for Amavubi in the race to reach Brazil 2014, Mali, have their hopes of progressing to the next round in South Africa hanging on a tight thread.

The West African side, which has the same number of points as Algeria in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers, take on DR Congo in the last Group B match on Monday knowing defeat would all but see the Country out of the competition provided Ghana doesn't falter against the underdogs Niger.

The tournament started with so many draws and few goals being scored, but goals are beginning to flow with boys being separated from men and today's games are expected to provide more goals, especially with all teams knowing only a win would guarantee passage to the next round.

Away from Algeria and Mali, Nigeria, the team that beat Rwanda to qualify for Afcon 2013, is too in a real danger zone.

The Super Eagles need a must win against Ethiopia on Tuesday to avoid an early flight back home regardless of the outcome of the match between Group C leaders Burkina Faso and Zambia, who are looking to avoid becoming the first defending champions not to reach the quarterfinals since Algeria in 1992.

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