THE National team, Amavubi, will be subjected to a litmus test today when they play away to hosts Ethiopia in the first leg of the Africa Nations Championships [CHAN] at the Addis Ababa Stadium.
Rwanda approaches this away fixture with caution and well aware of that vital away goal's rule in the quest for qualification for the 2014 CHAN championships in South Africa.
And coach Eric Nshimiyimana has called on his young guns to aim for a good win in the first leg before hosting the Walya Antelopes in Kigali for the second leg in a fortnight's time.
With the hosts fielding almost their entire 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers team, Ethiopia have an advantage on paper against the Wasps who only have young inexperienced players in the travelling party. Nshimiyimana told Sunday Sports,"We are ready for the match. It is going to be an interesting match considering that Ethiopia is a strong team which tops its World Cup qualifier standings, have been together for two years and have trained well for the encounter but we are ready for the challenge."
"We have a fit squad and there is nothing to worry about. Everyone is physically and psychologically sound and raring to face Ethiopia," said Nshimiyimana, adding that they are out to get a comfortable win against the Walya Antelopes.
The former APR coach said although many nations underrate the CHAN tournament, he is taking it very seriously because it will help him build his team for the 2015 AFCON qualifiers and 2016 CHAN finals, which will be held in Kigali.
Amavubi goalie Jean Claude Ndoli, who will lead the team as skipper, was part of the team that played in the 2011 CHAN competition in Sudan and he said that they are hungry to make it to next year's event thus promised to work hard as a team to eliminate Ethiopia.
"We know Ethiopia is a strong team but we are ready for the tie. We know very well their strong and weak points and we will all be out there to utilise those weak points as we seek to record the vital away win," said the experienced Ndoli. Amavubi, who will employ a 4-3-3 formation, will bank on the striking prowess of the likes of Meddie Kagere, Michel Ndahinduka and Jimmy Mbaraga while the men in charge of the defense will be Faustin Usengimana, Emery Bayisenge, Michel Rusheshangoga and Abouba Sibomana.
Jean Baptista Mugiraneza, Andrew Buteera and Fabrice Twagizimana will command the midfield.
But if Fifa rankings are anything to go by, Ethiopia, ranked in position 95, will have an easy afternoon against the 134th ranked Rwanda. They have proved that they are strong favourites considering that they are on the verge of qualifying to the play-off stage of the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign.
They are still favourites to top the group as they visit Central African Republic in their final game on September 6 while South Africa host Botswana the same day.
If the Wasps pass the two-legged test, they will qualify for the finals planned for South Africa next year.
Uganda Cranes ensured a bright start to the competition as they defeated Tanzania's Taifa stars 1-0 in the Chan Qualifier in Dar es salaam yesterday.
Dennis Iguma scored Uganda Cranes' only goal against Tanzania in the qualifier of the African Nations Championship in a game played at the Benjamin Mkapa National Stadium.
Tanzania 0-1 Uganda
Ethiopia vs. Rwanda
Return leg, July 28
Rwanda vs. Ethiopia