Even though Rwanda’s senior national football team ‘Amavubi Stars’ still have a lot to play for, they deserve a lot of credit. The Amavubi stars yesterday silenced their critics when they progressed to the finals of this year’s GTV Cecafa Challenge cup championship after ousting arch-rivals Uganda 1-0 in a thrilling semi-final. After a goal-less draw in regulation time, Roger Tuyisenge scored the all-important goal of the breathtaking encounter in the 118th minute, to end Uganda Cranes’ run in the competition.
After a disallowed effort from Rwanda’s lethal striker Bokota Labama in the first half, Uganda looked more dangerous in the second half. They pressed forward with increased urgency as the game neared to extra time.
But it was coach Josip Kuze’s second half substitute Tuyisenge who broke the deadlock in the final minutes of extra time to kill off the game.
The result was a repeat of the 2005 Cecafa cup edition were Cranes finished as casualties to Rwanda after losing 1-0.
It was also sweet revenge for Kuze’s team who had earlier succumbed to a 2-0 defeat against their Ugandan rivals in the group stages.
After the group stage win, Cranes coach Laszlo Csaba had hoped for a replica result but unfortunately for him, lightening did not strike twice for him as Uganda, one of the hot favorites at the championship, haplessly bowed out.
Yesterday’s victory was timely because on top of helping Rwanda progress to the final, it also restored Rwanda’s new-found dominance over Uganda.
In recent years, Rwanda has earned herself a reputation of dashing Uganda’s hopes at major competitions.
Rwanda will now face Sudan in the grand finale as they hunt for their second silverware in the competition.
Like Zanzibar, Rwanda boasts only one Cecafa cup title way back in 1998. Sudan also reached the final after seeing off Burundi 2-1.
Amavubi is yet to win the trophy, but it is never too early to thank them for going against great odds and overcoming them. Rwanda hopes that the team shines as it did yesterday and brings the coveted silverware home.