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2026 WC Qualifiers:Rwanda wins 2-0 victory over South Africa

Rwanda returned to winning ways following Tuesday’s emphatic 2-0 victory over South Africa at Huye Stadium in a 2026 FIFA World Cup Group C qualifier.

Amavubi had not won a competitive game since March 24, 2021 until APR FC forwards Innocent Nshuti and Gilbert Mugisha stole the show with two crucial first half goals to bring the streak to an end and send home supporters into frenzy.

Frank Spittler made two changes from the starting 11 that drew goalless with Zimbabwe last week, introducing fit-again Olivier Niyonzima and Kevin Muhire for Bonheur Mugisha and Hakim Sahabo respectively.

The game started brightly from both sides despite the soggy nature of the pitch condition due to a heavy downpour barely 30 minutes before the game.

Rwanda had the first chance of the afternoon in the 6th minute. A pass from Aubrey Modiba did not go through as Kevin Muhire pounced on the ball but the midfielder failed to find Gilbert Mugisha with his final delivery.

Omborenga Fitina, who was looking lively with his marauding runs down the right flank, found Gilbert Mugisha with a superb long pass. The winger controlled the ball on his chest but hit his effort to the side net in the 12th minute to the relief of the Bafana Bafana bench.

Nshuti opened the scores in the 14th minutes after running into an empty space and received a pass from the midfield before firing past Ronwen Williams to give the home side the lead.

He was booked for taking off his shirt in celebration of the goal.

 

The New Times

The South African defense was at the time looking shaky, finding it difficult to contain the artistry of Nshuti, Lague Byiringiro and Mugisha who looked dangerous in attack.

Their pressing paid dividends when centre back Ange Mutsinzi found Gilbert Mugisha with a cross field 30-yard pass. The winger used his pace to dribble past Bongokhule Hlogwane before firing a grounder to the far corner of the net in the 26th minute to make it 2-0 for Rwanda.

South Africa nearly reduced the deficit in the 35th minute but Ange Mutsinzi recovered beautifully to clear his lines after Themba Zwane stole the ball from him.

Emmanuel Imanishimwe tamed Percy Tau for throughout the game of as the Bafana Bafana live wire had no room to operate.

Rwanda was in control of the game until both sides head for the half time break.

 

The New Times

After recess, Splitter brought on Patrick Sibomana for Lague Byiringiro as he needed a speedster from the right wing.

South Africa coach Hugo Broos also brought on striker Zakhele Lepasa for Hlogwane as he hoped to strengthen his attack.

Both teams were playing at a rather slow pace as compared to the first half where the intensity was very high.

Rwanda made another tactical change in the 60th minute as Hakim Sahabo was brought on for Kevin Muhire in order him to supply the balls to the attackers.

Emmanuel Imanishimwe surged forward in the 70th minute and found skipper Djihad Bizimana who fired a looping effort but it was saved by goalkeeper Ronwen Williams.

Bienvenue Mugenzi came in for Innocent Nshuti in the 75th minute whereas three minutes later Claude Niyomugabo came in for Mugisha Gilbert.

Niyomugabo nearly gifted a goal with his first touch as he was stripped off the ball by Tau but Mutsinzi reacted fast to clear the danger.

Rwanda decided to soak the pressure in the final ten minutes of the game and hit the South Africans on the counter.

Hakim Sahabo threatened the vital area of South Africa with his menacing runs as he held on to the ball to create space for Mugenzi.

Centre referee Amin Mohammed Omar blew his whistle for the end of the game after the four minutes of additional time has elapsed.

The victory propelled Rwanda at the top of Group C with 4 points, a point clear of South Africa and two ahead of Nigeria and Lesotho. Benin find themselves bottom with one point.

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