Amavubi stars fade as they are stung by Squirrels!

To borrow a well worn phrase from an over excited Norwegian football commentator, Paul Kagame, your boys took one hell of a beating! 

In fairness the 3-0 score-line in Benin’s favour was perhaps a little flattering and it could be argued that Rwanda were the better side in a goal less first half. They certainly had the best efforts on goal, including a long-range shot that was acrobatically tipped over, at full stretch, by the Benin keeper and one than came back off a post.

I guess the Amahoro Stadium in Kigali was only a third full, but the 10,000 or so spectators created quite an atmosphere for this African Cup of Nations qualifying game.

Tickets had not been difficult to obtain on the morning of the match, 3000 RWF to sit on the concrete terracing or 5000 RWF (£5.00) for a VIP ticket. This section, either side of the halfway line, had plastic seats and the only shade available in the ground, so that’s what Mark and I opted for.

There were no allocated seats as such and we finished up sharing a row with the local TV, radio and news media which would have been interesting if I could have understood word of their animated reporting.

The game had only been underway for two or three minutes when the whole of the block in front rose to their feet, as one, and began applauding. It was nothing to do with the football, but marked the arrival of the President, sporting a smart/casual look in his open necked black short-sleeved shirt, as he took his seat not more than ten rows in front of us.       

I understand he is a genuine football fan and attends matches whenever he can. I’m sure, given the final outcome, that he will have been disappointed that the Amavubi (Wasps) stars, kitted out in the national colours (yellow shirts, blue shorts and green socks) faded so alarmingly in the second half and that they failed to sting the opposition during a period of ascendency just before half time.

There was, of course, no such thing as a match day programme or even an announcement of the players’ names, although surprisingly there was big screen at one end of ground which relayed the on pitch action.   

The best players on both sides were in midfield and wore the number 8 shirt. Essentially the difference between the two teams was that the Rwandan number 8 struggled in the second half, under closer marking, whilst his counterpart from the Squirrels continued to pull the strings for them.

Benin took control from the outset of the second period and finished with three well taken goals. The first was a speculative long shot, from striker Razak Omotoyossi, which arrowed into the top corner past the hapless Rwandan keeper.

The second was tucked away by Stephane Sessegnon, the afore-mentioned number 8, who I later discovered plays for French Ligue 1 side PSG  and was said to have been on Harry Redknapp’s shopping list earlier this summer!   

The final goal was the best worked of the lot and well finished, by Seidith Tchomogo, following a good build up and an accurate cross in from the right hand side.     

The buzzing vuvuzelas were finally silenced and it was time to follow in the slip stream of PK and beat a hasty retreat to the local bar for a Mutzig (à la pression!) and bit of post match analysis.

*Goal scorers names and details supplied courtesy of the BBC Sports website!

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