Antoine Hey delighted after Amavubi held Super Eagles
The Rwanda national team ‘Amavubi’ head coach Antoine Hey has praised his team’s fighting spirit after a goalless draw against Super Eagles of Nigeria in the opening game of the 2018 Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) Group C played on Monday at Grand Stade de Tanger in Morocco.
Rwanda goalie Eric Ndayishimiye pulled brilliant saves with Nigeria dominating the first half as both sides failed to find the net. The result ensures Libya maintains top spot of the group thanks to their 3-0 humbling of Equatorial Guinea in the earlier kick-off.
“I am happy with the way they fought to win the game, we are looking forward to continue our spirit in the next matches. It is good results part, winning would have been better, in the first half we were someone nervous,” head coach said.
“We tried to use two strikers in the first half and we change and bring another two forwards, which gave us option to play. In second, half we had some physical concern but all in all the boys did well,” Hey added.
The Super Eagles were the better side, dominating possession in both halves but failed to do the most important thing – goal scoring.
“We want first half zero-zero and try to look on how we can score in second half but it did not work but all in all we are fine. It is hard to win against Nigeria but it is not bad results and we have got man of the match. It is remarkable for us,” Hey noted
With veteran Ali Rabiu leading Nigeria’s onslaughts, youngster Sunday Faleye was unlucky to see his header from Osas Okoro’s assist bounce off the crossbar in the opening minutes with Ndayishimiye completely beaten.
On 38th minutes, Ali Rabiu wasted a golden opportunity to send Nigeria into the lead, volleying wide after the Rwandan goalie had spilled a cross onto his path.
“We will be taking each match at time, the game against Equatorial Guinea will be tough, and we will have to be ready to see if we can do much better. Today we needed a point and next match we will need more,” he explained
The Amavubi survived yet another scare from the Super Eagles four minutes before the interval, after a long drive from Ali came off the post with Ndayishimiye beaten yet again.
The second half resumed on the same tempo with Rwanda coming into the picture following the introduction forward Dominique Savio Nshuti and Justin Mico for Abeddy Biramahire and Barnabe Mubumbyi respectively.
Towards the last 20 minutes, the Amavubi grew in confidence and Eric Rutanga saw his curling effort from a set piece missing the top right corner by inches.
In the 80th minute, Nigeria were unlucky not to score as Eze saw his well-taken header coming off the left post once again.
Amavubi also had a free kick in the dying minutes of the game which was taken again by Rutanga but didn’t materialize as his cross was headed away by the Nigerian defense.
Meanwhile, Djihad Bizimana was named man of the match following his excellent individual performances in the game.
With a goalless draw, Rwanda secured a point and is left with two matches against Equatorial Guinea on Friday, January 19 and Libya on January 23 before completing her group stage campaign.