Skipper optimistic

National team captain is optimistic that the Amavubi Stars have the knack to lead their group in the qualifiers for the CAN/WC 2010 Africa finals.

National team captain is optimistic that the Amavubi Stars have the knack to lead their group in the qualifiers for the CAN/WC 2010 Africa finals.

Speaking to Times Sport last weekend however, Olivier Karekezi admitted that Amavubi’s chances of qualifying for the 2010 African Nations’ Cup in Angola shouldn’t be taken for granted.

It’s on this note that he called on the authorities to plan for early but more importantly adequate preparations.

“There are three factors to consider at the moment before the team regroups. The first (factor) is Ferwafa working with the coach (Josip Kuze) and organize several international build up games.

This, he said would ensure players to gain confidence  as well as expand their growing experience.

The second factor, he said, ‘Is for Ferwafa and the coach to find key players to add to the existing lot. At the moment, we are lacking commanding players in central midfield, a striker and a central defender.’

“The third (factor) again involves Ferwafa and this time, is to summon all professional players to the team,” Karekezi said.

The former APR star further added that once these factors are put in action, he can’t see why or how Kuze’s team would fail to qualify.
Rwanda first and last qualified for CAN in 2004 when it was held in Tunisia with Karekezi being one of the influential figures in the team at that time and he believes 2010 brings another chance to qualify again.

The Helsingborg striker also wants to change his position in the team, from the current striking role to his prefered place in the midfield, just behind the strikers.

The 26-year-old started his career as a midfielder and he enjoyed that role for both club
and country until the previous national team coach Michael Nees started fielding him as a striker.

“I need to return to my original (prefered) position, which in the central midfielder. I’ve already talked to Kuze about it,’ he revealed.

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 in the country’s football history.
Helsingborg huge task

Meanwhile, Karekezi admits that his Swedish club Helsingborg faces a huge task of defeating PSV Eindhoven in the Uefa Cup round of 32, which starts on February 13-14.
 “We lack some influential players and this could prove to be our biggest problem. Players like Andrea Dahl and Razak Omotoyossi have left the club.

“They were key players and I don’t think we have possible replacements at the moment,” Karekezi said.  Helsingborg will not only struggle in the midfield but upfront as well. After Henrik Larson’s retirement last month and Karekezi knows that it won’t be easy. The 36-year old former Barcelona striker Larsson was instrumental in Helsingborg UEFA Cup campaign. “If the club administrators make good signings, then we have a chance against PSV,” Karekezi said.

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