Rwanda coach Carlos Alos Ferrer insists they will continue to fight in their quest for a place at the 2023 TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations despite Wednesday’s 1-1 home draw against Benin.
The Amavubi are confident they can still secure a place at the tournament in Cote d’Ivoire despite drawing three matches and losing one game in Group L.
Their latest draw leaves them third in the standings with three points, one behind second placed Mozambique with two rounds of matches left.
A win at home against Benin’s Squirrels on Wednesday would have put them second, but they couldn’t make the most of their home ground advantage.
“Mathematically, we have a chance. We have one point difference from the second team and they will have to come play here. The group is still open and we have lots to be positive about. I am positive,” the tactician said.
He added: “We have two matches to play at home and I hope we can play here with our supporters. That will be a huge advantage for us. We have played away in three matches and we showed we can compete well.
Against Benin, Thierry Manzi scored the equalizer in the 71st minute, cancelling out Jodel Dossou’s goal for the visitors. Rwanda will rue their missed chances as they also had a penalty saved in the first half.
“I am disappointed with the result but not with how my team played,” noted the coach.
Meanwhile, Benin remained bottom of the group with two points and they also still have a chance to qualify.
New coach Gernot Rohr said they will also give their all to try and progress.
“We played in difficult conditions because we are not used to playing at altitude. But, we gave in a good fight and played well. We are building a team and we have many new players in the squad. We will keep working,” said the former Nigeria head coach.
Rwanda had an 18th minute chance to break the deadlock when Melvyn Doremus handled the ball inside the box. Rafael York stepped up but however saw his penalty saved.
Benin had a chance to break the deadlock before the break when Junior Olaitan stepped behind a freekick, but his ferocious effort was well saved by the Rwandese keeper.
In the second half the visitors broke the deadlock barely quarter of an hour in, Olaitan sending Dossou through with a brilliant ball.
The forward rounded the keeper before slotting into an empty net.
Rwanda rallied to get back into contention and they levelled in the 71st minute when Manzi headed home from close range after Meddie Kagere nodded Kevin Muhire’s corner into his path.
Rwanda came close to grabbing the lead minutes later when Gilbert Mugisha struck a shot from range, but it was well saved by the Beninese keeper Saturnin Allagbe.