Kigali, Jan 17 (IANS) Rwanda beat Cote d’Ivoire 1-0 in African Nations Championship (CHAN) football tournament’s opening game. Defender Emery Bayisenge scored a 16th-minute stunner for Rwanda before half-time sending the fans into a frenzy that took place in Amahoro National Stadium. here on Saturday, reports Xinhua.
A 25,000-strong crowd watched the game that was officially opened by Rwanda President Paul Kagame and acting FIFA president Issa Hayatou. In the second half of the game, Cote d’Ivoir piled more pressure on Rwanda’s side but they failed to get the equaliser. The opening game saw various local Rwandan artists perform at the spectacular opening ceremony. They include musicians, acrobats, Rwanda traditional troupe and drummers. Rwanda had a chance to go 2-0 up on the hour mark but goalkeeper Badra Ali Sangare managed to keep it out.
The tournament is the biggest sporting event Rwanda has ever hosted. It involves 16 teams playing in three cities – with the capital Kigali, as well as Gisenyi in the western side and Huye in the southern Rwanda all hosting games. Cote d’Ivoire are the reigning Africa Cup of Nations champions. Rwanda is the fourth country to host CHAN after Cote d’Ivoire in 2009, Sudan in 2011 and South Africa 2014. The fourth edition runs from January 16 and until February 7.