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Rwanda face DR Congo in 'game of the tournament'

29 January 2016, 15:01

Kigali - Rwanda's African Nations Championship (CHAN) quarter-final with DR Congo on Saturday has been billed as "the game of the tournament" by the host's Irish coach Johnny McKinstry.

Thousands of home fans are expected to swamp the capital city' Kigali's Amahoro National stadium to support their team.

McKinstry was named the Amavubi Wasps coach in March 2015 and he succeeded in moulding a winning outfit, guiding them into second in the Cecafa Senior Challenge cup in Ethiopia in December.

But the 30-year-old McKinstry knows their quarter-final opponents will be a tough nut to crack, despite beating them 1-0 in a pre-CHAN friendly.

"DRC is the most difficult opponent we could have faced. They have started the tournament in scintillating form", the Irishman told the Rwanda Football Association (Ferwafa) website.

"Despite our 1-0 win in the pre-CHAN friendly, it was clear from that game in Rubavu that DRC would be one of the favourites from the way they have played. We have to be at our best to beat them," added McKinstry.

"It's the game of the tournament."

Both Rwanda and DR Congo prepared for Saturday's clash by resting key players in their closing group games - both suffering heavy defeats as a result.

A total of 62 goals were scored in the first round group matches, with DR Congo, Ivory Coast, Tunisia and the now-eliminated Nigeria leading the way.

Cameroon, who meet the Ivory Coast in the second quarter-final at stade Huye in Butare and Tunisia, the 2011 champions, who play Mali on Sunday by contrast made a slow start before rediscovering their scoring prowess in the last matches.

Cameroon defeated DR Congo 3-1 to top Group B while Tunisia crushed Niger 5-0 to leapfrog debutants Guinea and Nigeria in a tough group C.

Zambia only managed two goals in their three matches but the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations champions, who are also tipped to win the tournament, ended up winning Group D which included Mali, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

Veterans Chris Katongo and Isaac Chansa proved their critics wrong by scoring the two crucial goals and they will once again play a key role when the Chipolopolo battle Guinea in the quarter-final at the Umugunda stadium in Rubavu.

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