Two penalties given away and two red cards in two consecutive matches is something that the Amavubi Stars can’t afford if they are to give their qualifying campaign any good favors.
Serious teams or good teams for that matter don’t give away too much to their opponents but with a series of high school mistakes being committed by some Amavubi players, the coach must do something.
Though Branko Tucak is managing to get the best out of some of the players, he must also realize how important their discipline will be in check as far as the challenge ahead is concerned.
I am not saying the coach is responsible for Mbuyu Twite and Elias Ntaganda’s red cards but, as the coach, it is part of his responsibilities to make sure the players avoid putting themselves in trouble with the referees.
Had Mbuyu not reacted the way he did to provoke the referee to send him off in the first leg game against Morocco, Tucak would have been better off with him in Casablanca instead of the inexperienced Jean Baptist Mugiraneza (Migi) in the midfield.
He may not have made a big difference to change the outcome of Saturday’s 2-0 defeat but APR’s Congolese-born midfielder’s experience could have added some steel in Amavubi’s display.
His long throw-ins and optimistic runs can cause one or two troubles for the opposition and not to mention his never-say-never attitude, much like Mafisango was missed on Saturday when the team needed someone to come up with something (special!).
For Ntaganda, his attitude, commitment and desire to give 110 percent every time he steps on the field are unquestionable attributes but, like most of his team mates, he needs to take easy it or else, Saturday’s red card may not be his last.
Ismail Nshutinamagara is a promising young defender, who actually has the potential not only to lead Amavubi’s backline for many years to come but also lead the team as captain.
At, 22, he is not Karekezi’s deputy for nothing. But, like Mbuyu, the Atraco defender missed the return leg against Morocco because he was suspended after accumulating two yellow cards in as many matches.
And also, the players particularly the defender need to realize the dangers of making rush decisions especially when they lose possession inside the penalty area.
In the first leg, Aloua Gaseruka gave away a silly penalty, lucky for him that Ndoli pulled off a double save to deny Morocco what would have been the equalizing goal before half time.
Then on Saturday in the return leg, it was Hamad Ndikumana’s turn to present the opposition a kick-start when he gave away another penalty as early the 11th minute.
In Kigali, Kharja missed but Youssef Safri did not need a second chance to do the needful in front the home fans. The players may think that giving away penalties and getting themselves in trouble with the referee is part of the game, but when the two details are put together and consistently as the Amavubi players have done in the last two games, what signal does it send to next opponents?