CHAN: Heartbreak for hosts Rwanda as The Elephants trample Lions

By alex wafula
Jan 30, 2016
  • Rwanda's Fitina Omborenga dejected after his team's 2-1 loss to DRC.(Photo by Alex Wafula)

Hosts Rwanda have been eliminated from the 2016 African Nations Championship after losing out 2-1 to Democratic Republic of Congo in a quarter final match played at the Amahoro Stadium in Kigali.

In the other quarter final of the day, Ivory Coast were 3-0 winners over Cameroon, in a match played at the Huye Stadium. Both matches stretched to 120 minutes.

Three quarters of the Stade Amahoro in Kigali fell into deep silence after referee Daniel Frazer Benett blew his whistle, signaling the end of a grueling 120 minutes between Congo and Rwanda.

AS Vita club defender Padou Bampunga had scored in the 113th minute after Rwanda had fought from a goal down to draw 1-1 and force the game to extra time.

At the other end, there was jubilation and Linagala tunes were being belted in celebration of Batoto ba Congo’s win over the hosts, Amavubi.

Rwanda had started off poorly, and even coach Jonathan McKinstry admitted after the match that nerves had brought his players down. But a superb second half saw Rwanda get back into the match and had opportunities to score, which went begging.

“It is very disappointing because if there was a deserved winner in this match, then it was Rwanda. We gave a very good account of ourselves in the second half but paid for missed chances. On another day, maybe we should be converting these,” McKinstry said after the match.

Painfull loss for Rwanda 

He added; “It is painful for all of us, but noting this is the best performance Rwanda has had, we leave chins up,” Rwande fell to an early goal, Doxa Gikanji striking a one-time shot from the edge of the box in the 10th minute.

The midfielder had picked up the ball at the edge of the box before striking it goal ward, Amavubi keeper Eric Ndayishimiye left rooted to his spot.

The Rwandese players had halted their movement hoping to get a foul from the initial play, but they paid the price for not playing to the whistle. Congo came close to a second in the 20th minute in bizarre circumstance, a double ricochet of the ball between Jonathan Bolingi Mpangi and Abdul Rwatubyaye.

The final touch came off Bolingi but the ball came off the upright. Rwanda were not themselves.

Their usual crisp passing and swift movement was well killed out. Meshack Elia and Herritier Luvumbu were toying with the Rwandese full backs at will and the midfield battle was greatly won by Les Leopards.

Rwanda’s best chance of the game came in the 33rd minute and they really should have done better with it. Innocent Habyirimana was picked up by a cross from Fitina Omborenga from the right, but the former’s shot was well saved by Congolese keeper Ley Matampi.

Heading into the dressing room, it was always going to be inevitable for McKinstry to spring some words of inspiration to his side which looked at sixes and sevens in the opening half.

And as he left the dressing room heading to his technical area, he put his hands up urging the capacity crowd at Amahoro to raise their voices and push his boys. Eleven minutes after the restart, Amavubi were level.

Ernest Sugira who had largely been taken care of in the first half finally found his scoring boots, hitting into the roof of the net after picking up a sublime pass from Jean Claude Iranzi.

Heading into extra time, none of the sides had that much energy to push but Rwanda breathed a huge sigh of relief when Elia was substituted, meaning they would deal with one less problem.

Rwanda were virtually forced to play the match with ten men nine minutes from time after Sugira picked up a hamstring problem and the team were already done with their substitutions.

The lanky AS Kigali forward tried to soldier on, but he could only make up for numbers as he struggled even to run for balls. A slight lapse in concentration and poor marking cost Rwanda dearly, Bampunga heading at the far post from a Zacharie Mombo cross.

Extra time goals for Ivorians

At the Huye Stadium, Ivory Coast seemed to have saved the best for last as they scored all their three in extra time.

Three minutes after the restart, Kofi Davy Mahinde broke the deadlock, rising to head in a corner from his skipper Yao Serge N’Guessan. Cameroon had a chance to reply five minutes later, Nicolas Moumi weaving into the box but his eventual shot was punched away by Ivory Coast keeper Ali Badra.

Heman Atcho Junior sneaked in between two Cameroon defenders to make it 2-0 to bounce a header in from an inviting Yannick Zakri cross.

Skipper N’Guessan then capped the day with a wonderful 60-yard goal, turning and shooting on target after noticing Cameroon keeper Patrick Nyame advanced off his line. On Sunday, Nigeria will be at the Regional Stadium in Nyamirambo taking on Mali while Zambia will be at Rubavu taking on Guinea.

Groups and Results Group A: Rwanda, Gabon, Morocco, Ivory Coast January 16: Rwanda 1 Ivory Coast 0, Gabon 0 Morocco 0; January 20: Rwanda 2 Gabon 1, Morocco 0 Ivory Coast 1; January 24; Morocco 4 Rwanda 1, Ivory Coast 4 Gabon 1. Group B: DR Congo, Angola, Cameroon, Ethiopia January 17: DR Congo 3 Ethiopia 0, Angola 0 Cameroon 1; January 21; DR Congo 4 Angola 2, Ethiopia 0 Cameroon 0; January 25; Ethiopia 1 Angola 2, Cameroon 3 DR Congo 1. Group C: Tunisia, Nigeria, Niger, Guinea January 18: Tunisia 2 Guinea 2, Nigeria 4 Niger 1; January 21; Nigeria 1 Tunisia 1, Guinea 2 Niger 2; January 26: Guinea 1 Nigeria 0, Niger 0 Tunisia 5. Group D: Zimbabwe, Mali, Uganda, Zambia January 19: Zimbabwe 0 Zambia 1, Mali 2 Uganda 2; January 23: Zimbabwe 0 Mali 1, Uganda 0 Zambia 1; January 27: Zambia 0 Mali 0, Uganda 1 Zimbabwe 1. Quarter finals January 30: Quarter finals; Match 25. Rwanda 1 DR Congo 2 (Amahoro), Match 26. Cameroon 0 Ivory Coast 3 (Huye); Remaining fixtures: January 31: Quarter finals; Tunisia v Mali (Amahoro); Zambia v Guinea (Rubavu) February 3: Semi-finals; DR Congo v Winner 28 (Amahoro) February 4: Winner 27 v Ivory Coast (Amahoro) February 8: Play off, Final (Amahoro)