Rwanda Vs Ethiopia 3:30pm
It will be a heart-breaker for Amavubi players and fans if they failed to qualify for CHAN 2018 finals tournament when Rwanda host Ethiopia in the second leg of the play-off qualifier on Sunday at Kigali Stadium.
Amavubi shocked the Walias with a 3-2 victory in the first leg played last Sunday in Addis Ababa, and any result other than defeat will see Rwanda completing the line-up for the next year's finals in Morocco.
The lesson for Rwanda is that in 2016, they messed up qualifications chances for the 2017 finals tourney in Gabon after losing to Mauritius 1-0 (away) when they had a good chance to qualify before losing at home against Mozambique.
Rwanda started their campaign winning 1-0 away to Mozambique, thanks to the lone goal of Ernest Sugira but lost 3-2 at Amahoro National Stadium when almost everyone expected them to win.
At that time Rwanda, under Northern Irishman Johnny McKinstry, needed an away win to Mauritius and a home win against Mozambique but failed to do so- but they went on to draw 1-1 against Ghana in Accra, to finish third in the group.
It can happen against Ethiopia under Antoine Hey, if his players go to the pitch thinking they have already qualified because of last week's win, truth is, they need to put the first leg results aside and start fresh in front of their demanding fans.
A win or draw will see Rwanda qualify for the third time, after Rwanda debuting at the 2011 edition in Sudan, before hosting the 2016 edition when they reached the quarter-final round, losing to eventual winners DR Congo, 2-1 in extra-time. Ethiopia participated at the last two editions.
Hey admits that the Ethiopians have more experience and after losing first leg, they will be even more dangerous to play against as they will have nothing to lose by sitting deep to defend and everything to gain by an all-out attack.
"We know our situation; there is another 90 minutes to play, everything can happen in football but let's hope for the best. We wanted to get a good result away from home, which is why we played offensively, that exposed us to counter attacks but it was a good result to take home," Hey told SaturdaySport.
Rwanda have a relatively good record against Ethiopia, winning five, drawing two and losing three in the ten meetings between the two teams, in all competitions.
The Ethiopian delegation jetted in Kigali Friday afternoon ahead of Sunday's second leg clash.
The draws for the finals will be done on November 17 in Rabat, Morocco, while the finals tournament is scheduled for January 12 to February 4, 2018.