Addis Ababa, November 12, 2017(GCDC) - Rwanda national team (Amavubi) defeated hosts Ethiopia 3-2 on Sunday in a 2018 Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) play-off qualifier first-leg at Addis Ababa Stadium.
Rayon Sports left-back Eric Rutanga, APR forward Muhadjir Hakizimana, and Police’s Abddy Biramahire scored the all-important goals for Antoine Hey’s team against Walias.
The away victory effectively gives Amavubi an edge over their Horn of Africa opponents ahead of their second-tie in Kigali next Sunday as both teams seek to reach the 2018 CHAN finals due to be staged in Morocco.
All of the Amavubi’s goals came in the second half with the Rwandans having gone behind in the 18th minute after Girma Aschalew had put the hosts ahead.
Rutanga equalised with wonderful free-kick in the 55th minute before the hosts regained their lead in the 65th minute through Abubakher Sanni.
Muhadjir, who came on as a substitute in place of Djabel Manishimwe, netted the second for Amavubi in the 78th minute minute to level matters, while Biramahire struck two minutes later to win the game for the Rwandan national team.
Amavubi now need a draw in the second-leg in Kigali on Sunday to qualify for the finals. The winners over the two legs will join Uganda and Sudan as representatives of the CECAFA region in the CHAN 2018 finals.
Both Rwanda and Ethiopia had been eliminated from the competition but a second chance presented itself when Egypt withdrew from the tournament after the North African clubs refused to release players for the tournament as it will not be staged during a FIFA international window.
CHAN is an African championship reserved for home-based players.
The tournament is scheduled for January 12 to February 4 in Morocco.
Rwanda took part in the inaugural CHAN edition held in Sudan in 2011 and then the 2016 edition which it hosted.
The draw for the finals tournament is scheduled for November 17 in Morocco. (News Times)