Amavubi head coach Antoine Hey has said his side is in buoyant mood ahead of the first leg of the 2018 CHAN qualifiers against Tanzania scheduled for Saturday at CCM Kirumba Stadium in Mwanza.
The delegation of 28 people, including 18 players, left the country on Thursday afternoon aboard a RwandAir flight. Rwanda Football Federation (FERWAFA) vice president Vedaste Kayiranga is leading the delegation.
Part of the squad is APR FC youngster Innocent Nshuti. This is his first call-up to the national senior team following an impressive display last season. The Junior Wasps star has been drafted in the team by Hey, who is desperate to groom new talent.
Other new faces include veterans Aimable 'Mambo' Rucogoza (Bugesera), Jean Marie Muvandimwe (Police), Latif Bishira and Eric Iradukunda (AS Kigali), Kevin Muhire (Rayon Sports), and Bernabe Mubumbyi (AS Kigali).
"I have been watching Tanzania, they are a very good team but we are ready for the challenge," Hey said before adding that, "the players are focused and I know we have players who can make the difference."
The former Kenya tactician added that, "We will do all we can to get a good result in the first leg and I am confident about our chances."
"We have good players who have been playing in the league and we have been working on just improving their tactical and technical abilities, the German explained on Wednesday.
The last time both Rwanda and Tanzania met was during the group stage of 2015 CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup, staged in Ethiopia, a game that Amavubi lost 1-2. The return leg will be played on July 22 at Stade de Kigali.
The winner between Rwanda and Tanzania will face either Uganda or South Sudan in the third and final qualification round due next month.
The CHAN tournament, which is reserved for players who feature in their respective domestic leagues across Africa, will be staged from January 11 to February 2, 2018.
Rwanda hosted the 2016 edition, and went on to reach the quarter-finals before losing 1-2 in extra time to eventual winners, DR Congo.
Goalkeepers: Eric 'Bakame' Ndayishimiye (Rayon Sports) and Marcel Nzarora (Police FC).
Defenders: Aimable Nsabimana and Emmanuel Imanahismwe, (APR FC), Thierry Manzi (Rayon Sports), Aimable 'Mambo' Rucogoza (Bugesera FC), Jean Marie Muvandimwe (Police FC), Latif Bishira, Soter Kayumba and Eric Iradukunda (AS Kigali).
Midfielders: Djihad Bizimana, Yannick Mukunzi, (APR FC), Kevin Muhire, Olivier Niyonzima (Rayon Sports) and Dominique Savio Nshuti (AS Kigali).
Forwards: Innocent Nshuti (APR FC), Justin Mico (Police FC) and Bernabe Mubumbyi (AS Kigali).
Tanzania Vs Rwanda 3:30p.m