The East and Central African Football Association (CECAFA) Senior Challenge Cup turned into a nightmare for Rwanda’s Amavubi Stars after they were beaten 2-0 by Tanzania in the quarter-finals of this year’s edition this week in Kampala.
The early exit for last year’s beaten finalists means coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojovic has not won anything yet for a national team as he enters his second year as head coach.
Normally, one of the biggest achievements expected from the national football coach is to qualify for the African Nations Cup and win the CECAFA senior challenge cup, at least.
Now with the 2013 Nations Cup gone and early exit from the CECAFA senior challenge cup , it means that the Serb has failed two of the main targets set for him when he took charge last October, replacing Ghanaian Sellas Tetteh.
Though Micho took an inexperienced team at this year’s CECAFA championships comprised of youngsters from Isonga FC and others, who were involved in Mexico during the FIFA Under-17 World Cup last year, there is still an element of inconsistence and low work rate in the team.
Some experienced players like Dady Birori, Haruna Niyonzima, Jean Claude Ndoli, Ismail ‘Kodo’ Nshutiyamagara and Jean Claude Iranzi were involved but their experience was not exploited to inspire the youngsters.
It is hard to explain the cause of this weakness but coach Micho needs to work upon this problem for better performance in future competitions.
There were so many changes to the team that was involved for 2013 AFCON qualifiers and this possibly affected performance of the team at CECAFA.
It is good to give young players a chance to play for the national team as this provides ample time for general improvement of the game, but the national team should be competing for pride and recognition, not representation.
This is what many national football team players strive for, you cannot earn pride and recognition without winning trophies.
At the moment, Micho does not get his duties right because he is not winning games. However it is not the end of the road for him as he still has some time to turn around his fortunes.
The FIFA 2014 World Cup qualifiers are back next year and this is the right time for the Serb to plan better before we visit Mali in March. It is very hard to qualify for the world cup because you have to beat the best teams.
But to become an international figure, you need to pass through such stiff challenges. All in all the coach needs to start winning games for the national team, otherwise we will be doomed another flop.
One of the longstanding weaknesses cited in Amavubi squad is the irregularity of players’ engagements for national team duties. Micho needs to find an immediate solution as soon as possible.
In every tournament, there are new faces or sometimes the whole Amavubi squad constitutes new players who, in the end, fail to coordinate well on the pitch to produce good results.
For example, the team involved in the African cup of nations qualifier is different from that involved in the CECAFA senior challenge cup.
This factor has been detrimental for the national football team performance in the past as many new players fail to deliver the goods.
Some of the regular national team players play well in the league but fail to impress international. The national football team should not rely on seasonal players, but on talented, consistent and elite players who can produce long term positive results. The team needs to have an identity.
The head coach for the national football team is charged with duties to rectify and find solutions for such loopholes.
Micho needs to identify the best elements in every position countrywide; he needs to have a broad knowledge of sporting intelligence so as to scout the best from the nearly 11 million population.
Amavubi need to find immediate replacements for some of the aging stars like Olivier Karekezi, Meddie Kagere, Birori and shot stopper Ndoli.