Tunis-The Rwanda Men’s football team, Amavubi, have shifted focus on Sunday’s friendly match due in Jamal after their scheduled match against Sudan on Saturday was called off in the 40th minute following unfortunate incidents marred by fist fighting from the Sudanese national team players.
Both sides ended the game tied on a goalless draw in a game played at Gammarth apartments training centre in Tunis, Tunisia.
The game was staged as part of preparations of the upcoming Total 2018 African Nations Championship which begin on January 13 in Casablanca, Morocco.
The unfortunate incident started when Sudanese player Nasser Omar fouled Rwanda’s Djihad Bizimana before headbutting Yannick Mukunzi.
As Tunisian centre referee Meher Harali reached for his pocket to dish out a red card to Omar off, Sudanese goalie Akream El hadi provoked his side to engage into fist fighting with the visiting Rwandan side hence forcing the game to go into chaos.
The unbearable professional acts from the Sudanese team forced Rwanda team to abandon the game.
Head Coach Antoine Hey said, “We had to stop the match after 40 minutes. It’s very unfortunate for us because we drove two hours from Sousse to Tunis specifically for this game and we had honoured this game as a favour to our colleagues from Sudan but unfortunately some players from the Sudanese game disrespected fair play.”
“They started fist fighting with our players, hitting them in their faces and with this atmosphere, it was not wise to proceed with the match as it is a friendly training match and we didn’t want to risk with the tempers overcooking, kicking and fighting each other on the field.”
“It didn’t make any more sense, it was disrespectful especially as we were the guest, coming to honour this match as a favour and some of their players didn’t understand the meaning of this match and therefore it was necessary to stop the match after 40 minutes,” added Coach Hey.
Coach Hey further added, “Our focus is now on Namibia game which is due tomorrow (Sunday) and we will use players who were not in the starting lineup today and maybe we might make small changes in the second half. Players who have not been with us will get a chance to play and get used to our system. We are looking forward to this game and let’s see how it goes,” added Coach Hey.
The game was staged to help Coach Antoine Hey gauge and access his squad players and tactics started on a good note with both sides displaying good attacking football.
Mico Justin and Biramahire Abeddy had their attempts saved by Sudanese goalie Akrem Elhadi as Yannick Mukunzi and Bizimana Djihad had perfect control of the midfield.
Sudan, on the other hand, had two unsuccessful chances from Mohamed El Taher and Ahmed Aden as Amavubi goalie Eric Ndayishimiye behind his centre-backs Faustin Usengimana and Manzi Thierry defended well.
This was the second time that Rwanda is facing Sudan in CHAN preparations. In August 2017, Rwanda defeated Sudan 2-1 in a friendly match held in Kigali and Sudan was under the tutelage of former Sudanese coach Mohamed Abdallah Ahmed nicknamed Mazda.
Rwanda will now face Namibia on Sunday in Jamal in her second build-up match to next week’s CHAN Tournament where they will face Libya, Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea in Group C whose venue is in Tanger, Morocco.
Rwanda qualified for CHAN 2018 after beating Ethiopia 3-2 on aggregate score over two legs. This is Rwanda’s third appearance in CHAN finals after 2011 and 2016.
Africa’s second biggest football tournament gathers exclusively players featuring in their respective domestic leagues. It is held once in two years since its inception in 2009 in Ivory Coast.
The Africa Nations Championship will attract Morocco, Mauritania, Guinea, Sudan, Cote d’Ivoire, Namibia, Zambia, Uganda, Libya, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria, Rwanda, Angola, Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Congo Brazzaville.