Amavubi head coach Antoine Hey has saluted his players following the 1-1 away draw against Tanzania in the 2018 CHAN second qualification round first-leg on Saturday at CCM Kirumba Stadium in Mwanza.
But the German was quick to also remind the team that nothing has been achieved yet until they can finish the job at home in the second-leg scheduled for July 22 at Kigali Stadium in Nyamirambo.
Amavubi returned home yesterday.
Hey was keen not to lose his second competitive game in charge, and forward Dominique Savio Nshuti gave him something to smile about when AS Kigali's new signing put Amavubi ahead in the 18th minute.
But the celebrations lasted for just 17 minutes as Taifa Stars captain Himid Mao netted the equaliser for the hosts after South Sudanese referee Alier Michael James awarded what appeared to be a dubious penalty when Aimable 'Mambo' Rucogoza cleared a goal-bound effort. The referee judged that he had handled.
After the match, Hey was full of praise for his players. "We needed to score an away goal and we got it, now we are going to prepare for the return leg, which we will be looking to win. A draw is not a bad result as it gives us the foundation going into the second leg; we must finish the job at home."
"We played a very tactical game, shutting out the Tanzanian midfielders, who were very quick on the counter-attack. Generally, I was impressed by the performance of my team, despite the short time we had to prepare for the match," said the former Kenya coach.
The winner will face either South Sudan or Uganda in the third round, the two having played out to a goalless draw in their second qualification round first-leg match on Saturday in Juba.
"I'm impressed with the level of our fitness. We will now focus on the few mistakes that we made and make sure we improve before the second leg," Hey added.
Hey lost the first game in charge, against Central Africa Republic 2-1, in the 2019 AFCON qualifiers first leg away to CAR early last month.
Tanzania and Rwanda have met 15 times, each side winning on six occasions, while three matches have ended in draws.
The second round winners will meet in the third round with only eventual winners qualifying to represent the East and Central Africa Zone, alongside hosts Kenya.
The next 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 have featured in two CHAN tournaments - in 2011 when they were eliminated in the group stage and 2016 when they reached the quarter- finals before losing 1-2 to the eventual tournament winners, DR Congo.
Rwanda hosted the 2016 edition.
July 22: Second leg
Rwanda Vs Tanzania
Tanzania 1-1 Rwanda