APR’s Buteera eyes return to Amavubi fold


APR midfielder Andrew Buteera is hoping to return to the senior national team for the first time after over a year out. (File)

Midfielder Andrew Buteera is seeking to continue an impressive run for APR FC in the hope of catching the eye of Amavubi coach Antoine Hey when he selects the team for the forthcoming CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup which will be staged in  Kenya from December 3 to 17.

Rwanda has been handed a daunting task against hosts Kenya in Group A, which also has Tanzania, Zanzibar and guest side Libya, who are preparing for the 2018 CHAN finals in Morocco. Amavubi will face the hosts in the opening match.

Defending champions, Uganda have been placed in Group B alongside Burundi, South Sudan, Ethiopia and another guest nation, Zimbabwe.

Rwanda will use the regional tournament as part of their preparations for next year’s Africa Nations Championship, which will run from January 12 through February 4 in Morocco.

Buteera has struggled with injuries, which have restricted his playing time for APR and consequently prolonged his absence from the national team set-up after his promising start at the U17 level in 2011, which included playing at the U17 FIFA World Cup in Mexico.

Following an injury-free start to the current campaign that has seen him help APR to the top of the league, Buteera admitted that, “I am so excited about my return, and play at a level I want to be, but I know I still have a lot to do to return to the national team.”

“First I have to do well with my club and if we’re successful, then I am sure the Amavubi coach will have a look at me. When APR wins, I am happy because it increases my chances to return to the national team,” the 23-year-old noted.

He added, “I feel good and strong to play again at the top level. I am available if Amavubi coach believes in me. I am ready for it. I will be happy again if I returned to Amavubi again. If I can play in CECAFA, then I have a good chance to play in CHAN.”

After being out of action for a long time due to injury, the Rwandan international says he has fully recovered and is fit to play regularly again for both club and country.

Buteera featured for Amavubi U17 in the 2011 World Cup, which was staged in Mexico, but he got a knee injury during the CECAFA 2012 competition held in Tanzania, and since then he has been struggling to regain his full fitness.