The new national team head coach could be the man to change the tide of Rwandan football; his impact was felt even before his job got started.
Josip Kuze signed a two-year deal, which will see him take the Amavubi Stars through the qualifying campaign of the 2010 World Cup/Nations’ Cup in South Africa and Angola respectively.
His first significant contribution to football in Rwanda came in form of advice he gave to the Sports ministry and Ferwafa, discouraging them from fielding the current U-20 national side as a ‘club’ in the next league season.
The two institutions had had this idea for some time and plans where in high stages to have the youth team play in the league as a way of keeping them together and having them get used to competition conditions.
But when they sought a professional opinion on the feasibility of the whole scheme, Kuze told them instantly, the idea isn’t practicable, Sports Minister Joseph Habineza admitted.
“We asked him for a professional advice and without much thought on the idea, he told us, it can’t work.”
“This is a man who takes decisions and we couldn’t take it any further than that because we believe he knows these things more than we do,” Habineza told the local media the day Kuze was unveiled.
The media-friendly youthful Minister admitted that even them (Mijespoc and Ferwafa) had developed second thoughts about the workability of the scheme.
He said, “Even us, we were discussing about its feasibility and reached a conclusion that if it (idea of U-20 playing in national league) actually goes ahead, it could cause some problems to the organizers.”
On paper, the scheme looks fantastic in as far developing the youth team is concerned but in actual sense, it would cause rifts especially with individual clubs that contribute the biggest percentage of players.
Kuze’s first serious assignment starts next month when Rwanda take part in the 2007 regional Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup in Tanzania.
The Amaubvi Stars were third last year in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia after beating arch-rivals Uganda in the play-off. Habineza revealed that, the Croat advised them to drop the idea and leave players to feature for their respective club.
Kuze’s countryman Obradovic Tomislav was appointed as the new U-20 national team coach, replacing Michael Weiss. Weiss who also doubles as Ferwafa’s technical director had been with the team for just over two months.
Interesting clause in Kuze’s contract
Minister Habineza who has been at the heart of the negotiations to bring the new coach disclosed several clauses inserted in Kuze’s contract.
But the most interesting one is the one that involves the 53-year old paying off his employers in case he intends to leave the job before the expiry of the contract.
He said, “He’s a good coach with a lot of experience (in club football) and thought the two years is the minimum we could give him.”
“Being good as he’s, he could be lured by a bigger country or club offering him more money than us. However, if that happens before his contract with is still on, he has to pay us for the remaining period,” Habineza noted.