For a minute, one would have thought that the football glory of years past was knocking on the door when the Rwandan national team, Amavubi, was leading Uganda Cranes 2-0 in the first half.
Amavubi had been thrashed 3-0 in Uganda during the first leg and they now needed just one more goal to rekindle any hope in advancing to the final stages of the African Nations Championship (CHAN). It was no to be.
Even though they were eliminated, Amavubi did not exit through the back door but came out with their heads held high. Rwanda is not known as a football nation, even though the game is the most popular. But what Amavubi showed yesterday was; with the right approach and preparation there is hope for Rwandan football.
Football skills need to be honed at an early stage, specifically through academies, but Rwanda lacks two essential things; enough space for football pitches and adequate inter-school competitions to identify talent. In fact, many schools, especially in Kigali, do not even have sufficient recreational areas leave alone a football pitch.
But all that could be reversed if Ferwafa, the football body, thought of the box and came up with innovative policies. For example, it could shift its football development ideas out of the city and into the countryside where there is more than enough land.
It is not a coincidence that Gisenyi is producing many good players because they have what it takes; enough pitches, an efficient football academy and dedicated staff. Why can’t Ferwafa replicate that?