Forget about the Seniors, let’s give a buzz to our Junior Wasps

Last week was the budget week all over East Africa as Finance Ministers spoke on government expenditure, where they hoped to get the money to do this. My favourite part was what taxes were to be reduced or increased. The good news is that the Government is willing to give up Rfw100 from taxes levied on petroleum in a bid to reduce inflation caused by increased pump prices.

Last week was the budget week all over East Africa as Finance Ministers spoke on government expenditure, where they hoped to get the money to do this. My favourite part was what taxes were to be reduced or increased.

The good news is that the Government is willing to give up Rfw100 from taxes levied on petroleum in a bid to reduce inflation caused by increased pump prices.

This will be done in two phases, Rfw50 off in July and another Rfw50 off in January 2012.

Of course between inflation and projected increases in oil prices, relief will be fleeting but it is the thought that counts.

More interesting was the plan to recover at least some of the amounts lost by the Rfw100 waiver, through efficient collection of VAT and taxes on gaming.

I may be wrong but I was under the impression that RRA was already collecting VAT efficiently, judging by the painful expression of the neighbourhood shopkeeper at the mention of the word, ‘Revenue’. 

Rwanda is hardly Macau or Monaco in the gambling leagues, which makes me wonder whether someone at the Ministry of Finance was being a little more optimistic about the returns from a gaming tax.

I’m not against the tax, people who can afford to place their money in the hands of chance can certainly afford to pay it, but I wonder whether this tax would raise enough money to cover the deficit.

Once again I may be wrong but next June, I will be curious to find out just how much was raised in gaming taxes.

Next Sunday at 11pm [Kigali time] the Junior Wasps, our U-17 side, take on the English in the U-17 World Cup in Mexico.

National history would be in the making the moment the Referee blows the whistle at the beginning of the match as Rwanda makes its first appearance in a FIFA world championship in all of its 49 years of existence.

Hopefully, we won’t have to wait another half century for a repeat. Evidently, the senior side is not setting much of an example with their lacklustre performance of late.

So for once, we will have to ask the elders to emulate their juniors.

Here are some of the lessons they can pick up from the U-17 side.

There’s plenty of local talent so there is no reason for the Federation to fly in ‘professionals’ from their faraway leagues nor do they have to perform rush naturalisation of foreigners.

Preparation is everything and it will never be enough to gather up only a week to a game and expect a miracle. Lastly, and this may meet a lot of resistance, players should only be rewarded when they have qualified for a major tournament and performed well.

Cash rewards for results from the performance in a single game create a mercenary attitude among the players. I suspect, but cannot prove, that many of our Wasps are only playing for the money and not for the love of country or game.

However, all these things have been known to those in charge for a long time and I fully expect no change.

For this reason it’s always a bit of a surprise when the Seniors occasionally win and I have already reconciled myself to the fact that we will not feature in the Cup of Nations of 2012.

So next Sunday, let’s approximate a Mexican wave and give a buzz for our Junior Wasps as they go out to take on the rest of the world ...and start plotting for Brazil 2014.

okabatende@gmail.com