Kenya had gone ahead through midfielder Richard Odada, but they could not hold on to the lead.
“I am not happy with how we played today because our best players did not rise to the occasion. We were slow in making decisions, moving the ball and that cost us. But all is not lost; we will sit down and make sure we correct the mistakes and give our all in the return leg,” the tactician said.
His opposite number, Vincent Mashami, was delighted with the result.
“I went in at half time and told the boys that we were the best team so far. We just needed to put a punch and we would get the goal. We ultimately did and I am pleased. But we cannot get comfortable as at now because we still have another 90 minutes to play,” Mashami noted.
The hosts broke the deadlock in the seventh minute when Odada picked the ball inside the box from a poorly defended Alpha Onyango free-kick, kept his calm before beating Rwanda keeper Fiacre Ntwari.
There wasn’t any much action in front of goal for the rest of the half, both sets of teams slowing down the game and only vying for possession in the middle.
Lanky Kenya forward Sidney Lokale had a half chance on the turn after picking up a long ball, but his eventual shot didn’t have enough sting to trouble the Rwandese keeper, three minutes into the second half.
Lokale was once again in the thick of things a few minutes later when he took a touch away from the keeper after a run into the box and from a tight angle managed a shot at goal, but Rwanda skipper Prince Buregeya managed to clear off the line.
But the Rwandese were the more attacking side as the half wore on and they came close with Christian Ishimwe’s curling effort from a free-kick in the 72nd minute missing the target by a whisker.
Byiringiro then forced a good save off the Kenyan keeper at his near post after skipping away from his markers on the right before shooting at goal. The resilience paid off with just two minutes of regular time to play when from a counter attack, the winger rounded the keeper who made a first attempt to punch the ball off his feet.
Saturday, 31 March 2018
Mauritania 2-0 Morocco
Algeria 3-1 Tunisia
Uganda 5-1 South Sudan
Tanzania 0-0 DR Congo
Seychelles 0-0 Mozambique
Malawi 0-0 Swaziland
Botswana 0-0 Namibia
Sunday, 1 April 2018
Gabon 4-0 Togo
Kenya 1-1 Rwanda
Ethiopia 0-2 Burundi
Guinea Bissau 1-0 Sierra Leone
*Liberia vs Benin
*Liberia withdrew, Benin qualified to second round