It wasn’t by surprise that the national football team the Amavubi stars suffered a humiliating 4-0 defeat to Sudan’s national team the desert Hawks over the weekend.
The defeat is the biggest that the national team has suffered in ten years since that 5-0 whopping at the hands of the Uganda.
Now Sudan is as good as being in the next qualifying round to face either Uganda Cranes who also have a mountain to climb when they host Tanzania after a 2-0 first leg defeat in Mwanza.
The second leg matches have been scheduled for May 16-18, where the finals in Cote d’Ivoire run from February 22 to March 8, next year.
But with the match having already won for some time, it’s only natural that many at Ferwafa are already looking ahead to the 2010 Africa Nations Cup and World Cup qualifiers that kick off on May 30th.
Several players’ performance in game against Sudan left much to be desired and it goes with saying that their careers at the top level have to come to an end.
From 2000 to 2005, there’s little doubt that Jimmy Gatete was as good a striker and the darling of Rwandan football. For those years we all had the pleasure of witnessing the goal getter recording numerous success on international and national for both the national team and his club APR. With all the due admiration to Gatete, he should do the humble thing and call his time on his international career. It goes without saying that Gatete’s career was hugely hampered by the serious hip injury that he suffered while in his late years at APR and the club failed to help him out.
The fact that former APR coach Andy Mfutila handed him very few games shows how little he trusted his most experienced player and it remains to be seen whether Gatete will still being donning the national jersey in the few years to come. Perhaps he should have just bowed out after APR releasing him, instead of going on to sign for Rayon.
It’s not surprising that Amavubi stars have declined in the past several years, many saw it coming. However, the dramatic fashion in which they lost against Sudan was remarkable. Down 2-0 at half time coupled with lack of will, saw the team do the unthinkable.
Poor tactics were the teams most undoing as the new coach Blanko Tucak played some players out of position. The poorly organized side went two goals down in the first twenty minutes of the first half as Omar Bakhit and Mohammed Tahir scored for Sudan.
Amavubi’s lone chance came on the 70th minute when Mwemere Girinshuti shot was saved by Akram Salim in Sudan’s goal after Abedi Mulenda’s initial shot had caused Salim some discomfort.
A late Jimmy Gatete substitution for Mulenda worsened the striking department as no striker was left to force Sudan defenders into their own half.
Poor defensive, midfield and striking tactics is what marred the game as Tahir scored the third goal before substitute Ahmed Mohammed scored Sudan’s forth goal.
Tucak’s midfield choice of Aloua Gaseruka and Jean- Baptista Mugiraneza flopped while goalkeeper Jean-Claude Ndoli did his best but poor defending let the hosts score from very feeble efforts.
Fielding Gaseruka in the centre midfield and Elias Uzamukunda as a right winger showed that Tucak has his hands come the second round. Amavubi were not only slow, but paid dearly for some tactical blunders.
"I had lined the players according to the experience I had over Sudan and I should take the blame for the defeat."
"After a 2-0 loss in the first half, I had to change players on their initial positions to avoid conceding more goals but it also failed in the end," Tucak said.
Tucak also blamed the players’ physical fitness saying that the squad selected was not the best for him. However, an alert had been given to him by the team captain Jean Baptista Mugiraneza prior to the team’s departure to Khartoum last week.
Players had requested Mugiraneza to intervene for them on the fact that they were not well prepared to face Sudan in terms of team’s physical fitness.
In fact, world cup and Nations cup qualifiers will be the true litmus test for how far the Amavubi stars can go under Tucak.
According to Fifa fixtures, African countries will have to play their first four qualifying matches for the 2010 World Cup finals on successive weekends.
The first group phase of the qualifiers begins at the end of May and concludes in September.
The four weekends of June will be used for the first four rounds of group matches, presenting a potential logistical headache for teams having to criss-cross the continent.
Poor flight connections, which often turn traveling to international matches into multi-day and multi-stop expeditions, are likely to cause consternation among coaches.
The preliminaries are also being used to determine the 16 teams for the African Nations Cup finals in Angola in 2010.
The 48 African countries left in the race for place at the World Cup are divided into 12 groups. The winners and eight best placed runners-up go through to the second league phase after October.
The final 20 teams will be divided into five groups from which the winners qualify for the World Cup. The top three in each group join host Angola in the Nations Cup field.
Rwanda will have to either lead their group or be among the eight best-placed runners-up to progress to the next round.
A disgracefully poor away record must be dealt with at the start of the 2010 Nation/World Cup campaign when Rwanda attempt to qualify for a first major tournament since the 2004 triumph .
After the calamitous Ghana 2008 campaign under Michael Nees, the football mad nation will be hoping that the lost hope of qualifying is resurrected with a triumph.
Rwanda will most certainly have to play much better away than it has done in the recent games.
The mother of tests will come when the team faces Morocco.