THE FEDERATION of Rwanda Football Association (Ferwafa) has released eight names of coaches interested in the job of Amavubi Stars head coach.
The post will be vacant when the current coach, Eric Nshimiyimana’s contract runs out on July 31. The former Rwandan international skipper took over from Milutin Micho Sredojovic on a temporary basis in March 2013 after the Serb, now in charge of Uganda Cranes, had been sacked.
According to Ferwafa president Vincent Degaule Nzamwita, among the eight that have expressed interest is former coach Ratomir Djukovic, who took Rwanda to its first and only (so far) appearance at the African Cup of Nations finals tournament ten years ago in Tunisia.
“We (Ferwafa) are working closely with the Ministry of Sports and Culture to find the perfect coach for the national team,” Nzamwita told Times Sport on Tuesday.
He noted that they are going to set up a special committee that will be charged to vet the candidates after which the best man will be picked.
Among the eight, there is only one Rwandan, the incumbent, Nshimiyimana, who most observers believe his time is over as the appointing authority look to go for a foreign coach, preferably a European.
The other names on the list include; Didier Gomes da Rosa, Branko Tucak, Luc Eymael, Tom Saintfiet, Hans Michael Weiss and Rene Feller.
The new coach will have a huge task of rebuilding confidence as well as molding a side capable to compete in the 2015 Nations Cup qualifiers as well the 2016 African Nations Championships (Chan) that will be hosted by Rwanda.
Times Sport brings you brief profiles of the eight men, from whom one will carry hopes of over 11 million Rwandans, who have waited for so long to see their team succeed—Rwanda’s last trophy came in 1999, the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup.
Didier Gomes: Now coach of Cotton Sport Garoua in Cameroon, he guided Rayon Sports to the top of the 2012/2013 season league title, their first since 2004. He was in charge of Rayon for just one season.
Gomes, 44, graduated with a UEFA License. During his spell at Rayon he once said: “I found in the Rwandan football a lot of potential, a lot of envy to do well and move on. In addition to that, I have fallen in love with the country of a Thousand Hills.”
According to one of his former players Abouba Sibomana, his coaching style not only creates a winning culture in the dressing room but it also shapes the players.
“Gomez is brilliant when it comes to building players’ confidence and he knows how to get the best out of every player,” said the Rayon Sports and Amavubi defender.
Before heading to Cameroon, the former Rayon coach had talked to some Rwanda football administrators about his ambitions and targets if he was given the chance to manage the national team.
Tucak: The Croatian, 61, was Amavubi coach in 2008 on a two-year contract. Tucak was however shown the door after the team failed to qualify for Africa Cup of Nations finals in Angola. He has coached in Croatia, France, Kuwait and Sudan. Could he be the right man for the job again?
Weiss: The German was the former coach of Philippine for three years, helping the squad reach its highest world ranking after impressive performances in international competitions.
Between 2007–2010, he was Rwanda’s football Technical Director and U-20 team coach. Weiss, 49, is experienced in youth development programmes.
Ratomir: The 68-year-old Serbian has coached Venezuela, Ghana, Syria, China’s Olympic team, as well as Myanmar. He was coach of Rwanda in the early 2000.
During his spell, Amavubi won 7 of their first 18 matches under his guidance. He got international acclaim after leading Rwanda to the 2004 African Cup of Nations for the first time.
Rwanda qualified at the expense of Uganda and Ghana – a nation whose national team he would soon take over and lead to 2006 World Cup. His contract expired in mid-2004.
Feller: The Dutch football manager who once managed APR FC in 2008, previously was in charge of the Eritrean national side, although he held that job for just three months. At 71 years, Feller is the oldest man among the eight. He has previously worked in Kuwait.
Eymael: The current Rayon Sports head coach is another person with interest in the Amavubi job. He once said in his interview, that; “It would be great, if I got the opportunity to be coach of the national team, though I cannot submit my application before my six-month contract (with Rayon) ends.”
His style is management as much as coaching; and has vast experience he has in African football, although mostly with clubs and not national teams.
The 54-year old Eymael is ranked in the 1088 spot according to World Fifa club coach rankings. Whether he is the right man remains to be seen, depending on how far he gets with Rayon Sports.
Saintfiet: The Belgian, 41, was the former coach of Malawi, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Ethiopia and Nigeria’s technical director, which makes him one of the more experienced men of the lot.
Nshimiyimana: Much as the contest door is open for him to re-apply for the job, his chances to beat the rest are slim if you compare the CV’s, but given that he is the only Rwandan, that could play in his favour in case the appointing powers decided to stick with current status quo.
However, 42-year old Nshimiyimana’s cause is not helped by poor performance of Amavubi in the 2014 Brazil World Cup and the Nations Cup qualifiers.