Amavubi's Rio chances, NBA ushers in a new era

When the draws were made by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and pit Rwanda against Somalia then Uganda and Egypt on the road to qualification for the RIO 2016 Olympic Games, one would have quickly written off our chances especially going by our history against Uganda and North African giants in recent editions.
Rwanda U-23 players warming up during a training session at Amahoro stadium ahead of today's clash against Uganda U-23. (Sam Ngendahimana)
Rwanda U-23 players warming up during a training session at Amahoro stadium ahead of today's clash against Uganda U-23. (Sam Ngendahimana)

When the draws were made by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and pit Rwanda against Somalia then Uganda and Egypt on the road to qualification for the RIO 2016 Olympic Games, one would have quickly written off our chances especially going by our history against Uganda and North African giants in recent editions.

But after the junior Amavubi outfit having qualified for the U-17 World Cup in Mexico in 2011, an outside observer would be hardly pressed to ask why we have such limited ambition or thought of the current U-23 side.

It’s simple to forget that the likes of Yored Konate, Jean-Eudes Aholou,Mory Kone all from ivory coast play in France’s Ligue 1, in fact two thirds of the squad that represented the west African nation currently ply trade in Europe.

These players were all part of that U-17 class of Mexico, so what should this mean for their Rwandan peers?

When one looks at the likes of Yannick Mukunzi, Andrew Buteera, Faustin Usengimana and Emery Bayisenge, among others, these are talents that the very least, good enough for one of the Eastern European teams or the Scandinavia but have our sports administrators tried to establish these links?

Your guess surely is as good as mine.

Does the current FERWAFA administration care enough for the future of football in Rwanda or are they in it for the hefty salaries and allowances? One would be quick to ridicule me on how this translates to today’s football match and well this is how.

The last time Uganda and Rwanda met at a junior football match we were completely outclassed, the Kobs as the Ugandan junior side are known are more experienced and better prepared than their Rwandan counterparts.

The Ugandan side have seven professionals in their ranks all playing at leading clubs on the continent plus majority of the squad is made of the backbone of the team that represented the country at the CHAN Championships in South Africa.

If I was asked to put my money on this fixture, it surely wouldn’t be on the Amavubi progressing to face Egypt but well oh well I will be called unpatriotic so later today, just like many Rwandans I will be in my green and yellow rooting for our boys. Good luck AMAVUBI.

NBA

Anyway enough of my ranting as I might get to be known as the snake, onto something that has been giving me sleepless nights over the past weeks and unfortunately it’s not a Rwandan sportsman or discipline, it’s the NBA playoffs.

Every May to June basketball fans world over embrace what has come to be known as the National Basketball Championship Playoffs. The NBA playoffs separate the men from the boys in a league made of men.

This time of the year is as sacred as religion to some friends that I know and this year’s championship has been the most unpredictable in a long time.

For the first time in 15 years, the NBA finals will not have a team with either Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant or Dwayne Wade now if that is not unpredictable enough then I don’t know what it is.

As of today, the conference finals have gone on to pit the number one and two seeds of each conference against each other and what a series we expect to have but as I have limited space thanks to my editor, let me indulge into something that I didn’t want to skip this week. The world rugby sevens player of the year nominees were announced this week and what an interesting trio of athletes that were chosen.

Fiji’s Semi Kunatani and the South African duo of Seabelo Senatla and Werner de Kock are the three contenders for this year’s world rugby sevens highest individual accolade but one would be Cleopatra to bet against the Fijian high flyer.

The success of Fiji, a third world country in a sport that is dominated by the world’s super powers is certainly an example of how much one can achieve with proper structures, commitment and organization.

Wish our sports authorities would pick a leaf.

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