The real journey to the 2010 World Cup/African Cup of Nations begins this weekend with the opening matches of the preliminary rounds. Forty-six countries will be involved in heated battles across the continent in search of representatives for the two globally acclaimed competitions; the Fifa 2010 World Cup in South Africa and the 27th edition of the African Cup of Nations. Therefore, for Rwanda, the equations is simple, beat Mauritania at home in the first game and morale will be higher than ever before going into the second fixture away to Ethiopia, a game which is winnable.
There should be no excuses for not defeating Mauritania at home, bearing in mind that poor starts in the last two campaigns have been the cause for Amavubi’s failed attempts.
Naturally, there seem to be a strong wave of togetherness once again in and around the Amavubi Stars team camp, something that has been missing in recent past.
For the first time since Blanko Tucak took over as head coach mid last month, the players seem to be enjoying themselves in training while the return of Hamad Ndikumana has improved the mood amongst the fans.
Also, the presence of Olivier Karekezi, Saidi Abedi Makasi, Bobo Bola and Emeran Fritz Nkusi has added an extra ounce of morale within the team as well optimism amongst the fans.
And again, for the first time in more than a year or so, everyone connected to the national team seem to be pulling the in the same direction, which is what is needed if the team is going to be successful.
Tucak made a faltering start to his reign as Amavubi Stars coach, losing on his debut 4-0 against Sudan before an uninspired 1-1 stalemate in Kigali.
Those two results coupled with complaints from senior players about the Croat’s lack of respect for them, seemed to cause some bad air between him and the fans—don’t forget that fans mean a lot to any successful team, they opinions mustn’t be ignored.
Mauritania is not a world beater and their standing in both world (123) and continental (35) rankings compared to Rwanda’s 110 (Fifa) and 31 (Caf) says everything there is to tell about them.
Every country has been preparing on the quiet towards securing tickets for the two competitions with each (country) envisaging bright starts.
And Rwanda wouldn’t ask for anything more a home start against a side below them in little aspect of the game—Tucak and his men have their destiny in their hands.
There is hope that Ferwafa and whoever else is responsible for preparing the team can do everything possible to avoid past mistakes.
With that done, the current team has the potential to get six points off Saturday’s opponents (home and away), three or four off Ethiopia and three off Morocco will just be the icing on the cake to finish either top or second in the group depending on how their rivals do in their own home games.
The most significant about the qualifiers this time is the fact that it will decide on candidates for the first ever World Cup to be held on African soil.
With due respect to the current crop of players and their administrators and the current state of affairs surrounding the team, Rwanda can’t qualify for the World Cup but at least they can give the Nations’ Cup in Angola a real go. Go for it guys, starting on Saturday.