Rwanda’s Junior Wasps secured a late goal to draw 1-1 with Kenya’s Rising Stars in a 2019 Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations first leg qualifier match played at Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on Sunday.
The APR Fc forward Lague Byiringiro scored the equalizing goal in the 88th minute to cancel out Richard Odada’s seventh minute goal in a game that the Junior Wasps dominated.
Kenya were ahead in the seventh minute as Odada broke the deadlock when he picked up the ball after Rwandan players failed to clear a low freekick from captain Alpha Onyango, taking his time before calmly slotting past the Rwandese keeper.
From then though, Rwanda returned into the game, taking time to keep possession passing the ball around the field well, but couldn’t create any scoring chances. Kenya, on the other hand, were slow to get into attack whenever they won possession.
The Junior Wasps were the more attacking side and they came close with Christian Ishimwe’s curling effort from a freekick in the 72nd minute missing the target by a whisker.
Byiringiro then forced a fine save off the Kenyan keeper at his near post after skipping away from his markers on the right before shooting at goal.
The resilience however paid off with just two minutes of regular time to play when from a counter attack, Byiringiro rounded the keeper to slot home.
Kenya’s Coach Stanley Okumbi said, “It was a bad day in office for my key players. They didn’t live up to the expectations but we still have a chance if we remain positive and keep encouraging the boys,”
The Junior Wasps Coach Vincent Mashami was proud of his boys who fought hard to earn the draw.
“We kept on pushing despite conceding early and the never give up spirit from the boys yielded fruits. We were the better team throughout and it gives us a chance in the return leg though not 100% but with home advantage, we shall be confident,” he said.
The Junior Wasps who are expected in Kigali on Monday afternoon will be hoping to maintain their score line in the return leg, set to be played on April 21 at Stade de Kigali to seal a spot in the second round where they will meet defending champions Zambia.
Kenya Starting XI : Humphrey Katasi (GK), Boniface Onyango, Yussuf Mainge, Ezekiel Nyati, Tom Teka, Alpha Onyango, Richard Odada, Vincent Wasambo, Musa Masika, Keegan Ndemi, Sydney Lokale
Substitutes : Francis Atwoli (GK), Bernard Arum, Fidel Origa, Eric Kipkirui, Abraham Dawo, Brian Wepo, Alvin Mang’eni
Rwanda Starting XI :Fiacre Ntwari, Prince Buregeya, Placide Aime Uwineza, Govin Marc Nshimiyimana, Christian Ishimwe, Saleh Nyirinkindi, Janvier Bonane, Saleh Ishimwe, Protais Sindambiwe, Rague Byikingiro, Bogarde Cyitegetse
Substitutes: Gael Aime, Thierry Ndayishimiye, Shaffi Nsongayingabo, Yakuba Byukusenge, Gilbert Nshimyumuremyi, Patrick Mugisha, Felicien Hakizimana.
First Round Results
Saturday, 31 March 2018
Mauritania 2-0 Morocco
Algeria 3-1 Tunisia
Uganda 5-1 South Sudan
Tanzania 0-0 DR Congo
Seychelles 0-0 Mozambique
Malawi 0-0 Swaziland
Botswana 0-0 Namibia
Sunday, 1 April 2018
Gabon 3-0 Togo
Kenya 1-1 Rwanda
Ethiopia 0-2 Burundi
*Liberia vs Benin (*Liberia withdrew, Benin qualified to second round)