Gracias! The two defeats against England and Uruguay in the ongoing FIFA World Cup Under-17 finals in Mexico notwithstanding, our lads have done a praiseworthy job on the global soccer scene.
The junior wasps’ match losses have come to book simply because of an immense pressure shouldered by our boys, knowing that Rwanda was making its debut on such an international footbal level. But, they did not fall short of winning because they are not a good team.
It was both statistically and visibly clear that the British and South American sides were not a better molded pot of talents than ours. They were only cushioned by history that both countries have always been regular travelers aboard FIFA first class ‘air football’, and they indeed took advantage of that.
Tactically and physically, Rwandans have shown class and potential to cause a revolution in the Rwandan football, and make hoof marks on the global soccer scene.
This crop of talents, 80 percent of which has come out of the two-year academy run by Ferwafa – the soccer governing body, has peeled it naked to us that Rwanda can be a footballing nation.
For many years, we were almost converted into believing that football in Africa is only or mainly made for our brothers in the West and North. Little did we know that the West and North Africans burst onto the international soccer scene as a result of embarking on setting up soccer academies.
In just a space of 24 months of embarking on somewhat similar developmental program, Rwanda is now featuring in a tournament to which the usual African suspects failed to make it (Nigeria, Cameroon, Morocco, Egypt, Ghana and Tunisia).
Honestly speaking, our lads’ performance against Uruguay left me wordless at the time, albeit losing 1-0 in the last seconds of the game. Leave alone watching such a stellar showpiece produced by either a Rwandan team or club, I am yet witness it in the East and Central African region. These boys are superb!
I think we are getting on the right direction in terms of developing our football. What is the most needed now is an obvious thing to the Football Association and all stakeholders. This is to keep momentum. In order to maintain and improve the newly set up standard, consistency will have come into play to ensure continuity.
While commending the FA and its international and national stakeholders for the good job so far well executed particularly in the last two years, I would like to urge the governing body to ponder on two elements set out below.
One, spread our wings. We need to draw an international window wide open to extend unequalled opportunities for career growth to this first bunch of assembled talents.
This could be established through a creation of an international network that should see a numerous MOUs signed between our academies and academies across Europe.
This approach would not only foster the continuous growth of our individual talents and senior national football, but also create a reliable chain through which new talents will keep on being unearthed. It could also be cost-effective in terms of deploying our not-so-much resources.
Two, do not think about it. Letting these boys feature in the Primus National League should be the last thing we would want to do.
With due respect to the organizers, sponsors and all stakeholders involved in the running of our league, the standard of these football academy boys would only deteriorate if they are deployed to play in the local championship.
These boys’ skills can only be further honed in better academies and leagues but not in our league dominated by over-aged players who are slower than weighty pedestrians.
Conclusively, the fact that these boys were born right after or during the 1994 massacre is another one. It is a great testimony of how the people of Rwanda have worked so hard to transform their country and put a footprint on the global map, where Rwanda was not visible both physically and literally. Let’s keep the fire burning. We can, therefore we are.