Cecafa U17: Rwasamanzi explains why Rwanda must face Tanzania like a final

Rwanda U17.
The junior sides from the two nations are set to face off in Group B’s opening match on Monday in Rubavu

Rwanda U17 coach Yves Rwasamanzi has explained why facing Tanzania in the Cecafa U17 Africa Cup of Nations zonal qualification will be like a final.

Rwanda and Tanzania will clash on Monday for a Group B tie and Rwasamanzi has insisted his side must take each game with the seriousness it deserves.

“We are in a very tricky group and we must treat every game like a final. I know Tanzania have a good team and we must treat them very seriously,” the coach told Cecafa Online .

The nations would have played on Saturday at Umuganda Stadium in Rubavu but South Sudan’s disqualification from the junior tournament forced Cecafa to rearrange and reschedule the matches.

South Sudan were disqualified after four of their players were found to be overage after Magnetic Resonance Imagining (MRI) tests were carried out before the tournament.

The South Sudan Football Association (SSFA), however, promised to look into the matter as they affirmed their commitment to upholding the regulations of football .

The tournament is picking speed as Kenya and Ethiopia have already played. The two rivals fought and drew 2-2 on Sunday in a match where Oliver Page’s stars were destined for a win before Ethiopia rallied back to pick up a point.

James Gathongo had given Kenya a 14th minute lead with a low shot after Ethiopia were caught off guard in their own half. After Ethiopia had equalised in the 61st minute, Kenya were rewarded as they grabbed the lead again in the 84th minute when Umar Rajab tapped home from close range.

Kenya’s Hamisi Omari brought down Miraj Nagash and Ethiopia were given a penalty inside the added four minutes from which they scored and ensured the tie ended in a draw. Nagash converted to hand his side an opening point in Group A.

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Kenya’s Umar Rajab, Khamis Nyale and Hamis Omari and Ethiopia’s Esmail Shamil were booked during a tense game in Rubavu.

The players will rest on Tuesday before the 2018 champions, Kenya, Tanzania and Burundi resume action on Wednesday.

The last group games will be held on Friday while the semi-finals are scheduled for December 20 and the final game will be played two days later. The best two teams will represent the Cecafa region in the U17 Afcon finals in Morocco in 2021.