Nation is behind you, Kagame tells Amavubi


President Kagame receives a replica of the national jersey from Amavubi skipper Jacques Tuyisenge at Village Urugwiro in Kigali yesterday. (Village Urugwiro)

President Paul Kagame, yesterday, met with the national football team, Amavubi, ahead of their quarter-final clash with rivals DR Congo in the African Nations Championships (CHAN).

Hosts Rwanda opens the knockout rounds against their neighbours from the West at Amahoro National Stadium tomorrow knowing victory would put them a step closer to a historic final.

The Minister for Sports and Culture Julienne Uwacu and head coach Johnny McKinstry led the team to the meeting at the President’s Office, Village Urugwiro, in Kigali.

Addressing the team President Kagame said that the country believes in their ability to win their next game (s).

“We are all behind you; the whole country is behind you. You are carrying the name of your country,” Kagame told the team, adding that their success to date is a reflection of their hard work, but challenging them that the work lying ahead demands even more from the team.

The President told the team that to achieve more, they needed to work with even more focus and discipline.

Kagame added that chances of winning are higher when the players go into a game confident of their ability to win, rather than relying on sheer luck.

“Everyone loses at some point but losing is unacceptable when it is a result of you performing under your capabilities…Know that you have the ability to win this cup but do not behave as if you have already won. Work for it and work as a team,” he said.

The President urged the national team to go into tomorrow’s crunch game with the determination backed by a spirit of execution.

“You should not be satisfied by anything less than reaching your full potential,” Kagame told the Wasps.

Motivational meet

Speaking to the media shortly after the meeting, Amavubi skipper Jacques Tuyisenge said meeting the President was a timely motivation for the team ahead of their first quarterfinal game with DR Congo at Amahoro National Stadium.

“We thank the President for finding time to meet us. While addressing the team, you could see that every player was very attentive and carefully listening to every single word he said. It raised the spirit of the team to go out and fight to win the game for the nation,” said Tuyisenge.

Coach Johnny McKinstry echoed his skipper’s comments, saying the meeting ahead of the game with DR Congo is “great motivation.”

McKinstry added that both teams will be very fresh and the difference will be the hard work throughout the 90 minutes in Saturday’s encounter.

The coach appealed to Amavubi fans to buy tickets before hand and fill the stadium to capacity on Saturday.

“All I want to see is yellow. If we get that support, it will add that twelfth man and an extra 10 per cent to win the game,” McKinstry said.