I want to build solid team for Chan 2016 - Constantine

AMAVUBI head coach Stephen Constantine says his main task is to build a solid team that is good enough to compete against Africa's elite in the finals of Chan 2016 tournament that will be held in Rwanda.
Constantine shares a light moment with his players during a training ahead of the game against Libya in May. (Timothy Kisambira)
Constantine shares a light moment with his players during a training ahead of the game against Libya in May. (Timothy Kisambira)

AMAVUBI head coach Stephen Constantine says his main task is to build a solid team that is good enough to compete against Africa’s elite in the finals of Chan 2016 tournament that will be held in Rwanda.

In an interview with The Guardian this week, the Briton said his main focus remains primarily on Rwanda and how he can take the nation’s football forward.

“The expectation is for me to produce a good, solid team to play in the 2016 African Nations Championship. No one imagined that we could qualify for the group stages by beating Libya and Congo. This was not in the equation but we did it,” he stated.

Even with the issue of disqualification, his goal remains the same.

The Briton has enjoyed a nomadic career that has spanned Africa, Asia and Europe. Now he is determined to improve the fortunes of a country ravaged by 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

“I don’t care where it is geographically. I don’t care about what’s happening politically or religiously. I’m only interested in the football.”

This is the employment policy of the English manager Constantine, who was appointed Rwanda national team head coach in May.

To find Constantine, who possesses a CV that should come attached with a map of the world, within the borders of the British mainland is an achievement in itself, a relatively rare trip back to the place of his birth.

He had just guided Rwanda through two-legged knockout ties against Libya and the Republic of Congo, meaning they had reached the group stage of qualifying for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco.

African football’s governing body disqualified Rwanda after discovering striker Dady Birori – as Rwanda knew him – had in fact also played under a secondary name and age on a Congolese passport for his club side AS Vita. Much to Constantine’s chagrin, Congo was subsequently reinstated in their place.

Nevertheless, his experiences with Rwanda have been some of the most positive that he has had as a manager, in a career that has spanned every continent apart from Oceania and South America.

Ending his playing career in the USA at the age of 26 because of injury, he has managed in the Cypriot domestic leagues, been part of the coaching staff during Lawrie Sanchez’s spell in charge of Apollon Smyrni in the Greek Super league, as well as managerial roles in charge of Nepal, Indian, Malawi and Sudan.

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