Rwanda vs Ivory Coast: Under pressure Elephants to be held in Kigali
West Africans set to continue recent struggles under new manager
Ivory Coast face tricky tip to Rwanda as both sides look to pick up their first points in AFCON qualification (Getty Images)
Rwanda vs Ivory Coast Preview & Betting Tips
Rwanda and Ivory Coast will go head to head in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifying fixture at the Nyamirambo Stadium. Both teams made a losing start to the campaign and the under pressure Ivorians could be set for another disappointing day out.
The Wasps suffered a 2-1 defeat to the Central African Republic in their opening match of the qualifying series. Despite Ernest Sugira’s 89th minute strike, they conceded a late winner to come away from Bangui empty handed.
Manager Vincent Mashami has overseen a period of stability for the Rwandans as they are currently unbeaten in four of their last five matches. Two of those matches have ended in victory but they were beaten 1-0 by Libya in their last international outing.
Mashami has selected 26 players for the clash with striker Danny Usengimana expected to lead the line on Sunday. Meddie Kagere also makes a return to the team after a four-year absence.
The Elephants made a disappointing start to the qualifiers as they were beaten at home by Guinea. Despite taking the lead twice through Seydou Doumbia, they were unable to keep things tight at the back and fell to a 3-2 defeat.
The Ivorians, who missed out on the World Cup in Russia head to Kigali off the back of just one win in their last eight outings. Manager Ibrahim Kamara will be taking charge of his first competitive match as boss after being appointed as Marc Wilmots’ successor in June.
Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha is a surprise omission from Kamara’s first official squad with Gervinho and Doumbia joining the 25-year-old on the sidelines. The manager, however, retained some of the regulars with Eric Bailly, Jean Michael Seri and Serge Aurier all bringing Premier League quality.
There have been seven previous matches involving Rwanda and Ivory Coast with the West African team leading the head to head by four wins to two.
Both teams faced each other during the qualifiers for the 2012 AFCON with Sunday’s visitors claiming a 3-0 win at home before running out 5-0 winners in Kigali.
Zaha’s absence from the team means Ivory Coast will lack some pace and cutting edge in attack. The likes of Jonathan Kodjia and Max Gradel should give Thierry Manzi and Salomon Nirisarike in defence for Rwanda a hard time.
The hosts will look to Sugira and Danny Usengimana for goals and both men will fancy their chances of getting the better of Bailly and Lamine Kone who have looked shaky in recent matches for the Ivory Coast.
Rwanda have failed to win 6 of their last 8 matches (All Competitions).
Rwanda are unbeaten in 7 of their last 12 home matches (AFCON Qualifiers).
Ivory Coast are unbeaten in 10 of their last 11 away matches (AFCON Qualifiers).
Ivory Coast have drawn their last 2 AFCON Qualifiers away from home.
Ivory Coast have struggled in their recent matches and should find it hard in Kigali. There are likely to be goals in this one with both teams settling for a draw.