DAR ES SALAAM - Amavubi Stars head coach Josip Kuze is confident that the 2010 Africa and World Cup campaign will be positive.
Speaking to Times Sport moments after falling just short of winning the GTV sponsored Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup on Saturday, the Croatian born tactician expressed his disappointment but admitted that the championship has given him a chance to take a closer and analytical look at the players at his disposal.
The 55-year-old admitted the two-week regional championship staged in the Tanzanian city of Dar es Salaam has enabled him and his backroom staff to test their squad ahead of the CAN/WC2010 qualifying campaign, which gets underway next May.
“(After this championship), I know the ability of each one of my players, besides I have five months to work with them one-on-one so as to improve their individual skills.
“Of course, we would need to add to this squad more players who never made it to Cecafa.
“Given all the necessities we need to make this squad better and stronger, I’m quite certain we (Rwanda) has a chance of qualifying at least for the African Nations’ Cup,” the soft spoken Kuze said.
However, the former Dynamo Zagreb coach noted that another possibility of ensuring that Rwanda reaches the 2010 CAN finals in Angola would by winning all the home fixtures. Rwanda lost to Sudan in this year’s Cecafa final to bag $20,000. Sudan won their second Cecafa Cup title after defeating Rwanda 4-2 on penalty shoot-out after the ninety minutes plus extra time ended when the two teams tied at 2-2.
Balla Gabir, Abdelhamid Ibrahim, Nasrdin Omer and keeper Akram Elhadi Salim converted for Sudan while Ismail Nshutinamagara and Elias Ntaganda missed for Rwanda.
Only Manfred Kizito and Olivier Karekezi converted for the Amavubi.
Both Rwanda and Sudan were gunning for a second Cecafa title, Rwanda won the title in 1999 while Sudan last won the title twenty seven years ago.
Meanwhile, local football governing body, Ferwafa has announced that they have plans to organize a number of international build-up games to test for Kuze’s team.
A top federation official disclosed that the build-up games would be played between the beginning of April and when Rwanda plays her first qualifier against Ethiopia in Addis Ababa in May. Rwanda has been drawn against North African giants Morocco along with Ethiopia and Mauritania in Group Eight for the CAN/FIFA 2010 World Cup qualifiers whose finals will be held in Angola and South Africa respectively.
The Amavubi Stars’ appearance at the 2004 Nations Cup finals in Tunisia remains the biggest achievement so far the country’s football history.
The 32 World Cup finals’ slots were divided into 13 for Europe, six for Africa (including the host nation- South Africa), four each for Asia and South America and three for Concacaf.
The winners of the Oceania group play off against the fifth-placed Asian side for a further spot while the fifth-placed finishers in South America play off for a berth against the fourth-placed team from the central and North American and Caribbean Zone.
Rwanda, Morocco, Ethiopia, Mauritania
Group winners and eight best runners-up will advance to third round.
The 20 teams from round two will be grouped in five groups of four teams in home and away format. Five group winners qualify for the World Cup.
South Africa will participate in WC despite being hosts. (Africa will have six teams in 2010WC).