UNDER fire Amavubi head coach Branko Tucak was left in total isolation when his players singled him out as the root cause for Rwanda’s failure to qualify for next year’s Africa Nations Cup (CAN) in Angola.
Amavubi’s assistant captain Olivier Karekezi was very furious with the team selection for Saturday’s decisive qualifier against Zambia.
“Initially, we had agreed on the final team to face the Chipolopolo but we were all shocked when it was changed without our consent,” Karekezi, who only came on as a second half substitute queried.
“This is not what we expected. We talk about team work but this was completely against team work. We have no idea why the team captain Hamad Ndikumana was dropped to the bench but what I can tell you all is that it had a negative impact to the team.
“Ndikumana is the most experienced player in the team and knows how to command the team,” Karekezi reasoned, adding that Tucak’s decision could be blamed for Saturday’s appalling result.
However, Tucak’s assistant Eric Nshimiyimana has revealed that the Amavubi captain was dropped because of poor form.
Going into the game, the task was well cut out for both teams. Zambia needed a draw or a 0-1 defeat to qualify while Amavubi needed to win by a two-goal margin to have any chance of piping the Chipolopolo to that elusive CAN slot.
Unfortunately for Rwanda, Saturday’s performance was not any different from their previous Group C games as they continued to put away good scoring opportunities.
Jean Mugiraneza aka Migi, Abbas Rassou and Bokota Labama were all wasteful in front of goal even though Chipolopolo’s goal keeper Kennedy Mweene looked very lively between the goal posts.
After a below par first-half performance, Amavubi came back from the locker room looking more aggressive but still couldn’t find room to break down Zambia’s well organized defense.
Zambia finished third with five points while Rwanda stayed bottom with two points from a possible 18.
In Group C’s other game, Emad Moteab scored five minutes into stoppage time to earn Egypt a 2-0 victory over Algeria.
The result left the bitter North African rivals level on points and goal difference at the top of Group C so they will meet again this Wednesday in Sudan to decide which country goes to South Africa.
Reigning African champions Egypt took the lead through Amr Zaki after two minutes at the Cairo Stadium.