Habineza’s reappointment is a sigh of relief

Joseph Habineza’s return to the Sports Ministry is a development that many Rwandans have applauded. When Prime Minister, Anastase Murekezi read out his name in parliament on Thursday as the new minister of Sports and Culture, Habineza received the loudest cheers from fellow politicians – indicating that Habineza isn’t just popular amongst ordinary citizens. His return from Nigeria where he has been Rwanda’s High Commissioner after three years means a lot for sports enthusiasts. He is full of life, jolly and known to be hard-working, which is exactly what the ministry missed while he was away.
Ivan R. Mugisha
Ivan R. Mugisha

Joseph Habineza’s return to the Sports Ministry is a development that many Rwandans have applauded.

When Prime Minister, Anastase Murekezi read out his name in parliament on Thursday as the new minister of Sports and Culture, Habineza received the loudest cheers from fellow politicians – indicating that Habineza isn’t just popular amongst ordinary citizens.

His return from Nigeria where he has been Rwanda’s High Commissioner after three years means a lot for sports enthusiasts. He is full of life, jolly and known to be hard-working, which is exactly what the ministry missed while he was away.

His predecessor, Protais Mitali, has been at the helm of what could be the most boring and most disappointing period in the history of Rwandan football.

If you randomly asked people what they remember about Mitali’s reign, it won’t be about sports. They’ll probably remember him for banning Halloween and billboards, nothing else.

Football in Rwanda is indeed in shambles and the people at the helm have tried to fix it year after year by using the same methods that keep failing.

As a football enthusiast, I won’t ask more from Habineza. All I crave for is good football. I and millions of football fans want to follow Amavubi proudly, knowing that Rwanda will not just be a walkover against every country we face.

Literally speaking, leaders are supposed to ensure that they leave a mark of reference…something positive that people can always reflect on with pride.

Yet in as far back as I can remember, we haven’t had much apart from disappointments – and this is now Habineza’s cross to carry. Without mincing words, football lovers expect nothing less of a revival.

Seeking for short term glory has been the order of the day at Ferwafa and this must change.

Hiring a foreign coach and paying them an exorbitant monthly salary of Rwf7.6 m is not justifiable in the least sense, most especially when we continue to perform badly, like we did against Congo Brazzaville last weekend.

Much as Stephen Constantine has reiterated his confidence that Amavubi could get a shock result in the return leg in order to continue on the journey to 2015 African Nations Cup, the reality is we are all but out. Just like in all previous competitions.

For the past three years, Habineza has lived in a great football nation. Nigeria has produced some of the greatest footballers on the African continent such as Daniel Amokachi, Jay Jay Okocha and Stephen Keshi who is now the national team coach.

In Rwanda however, there is a lot of intolerance for Rwandan coaches, yet foreign coaches also don’t get it right. Perhaps this will be Habineza’s first task – to copy Nigeria and bring some respect to Rwandan coaches.

One lesson we can learn from Nigeria is that we cannot always rely on foreigners for success.

As a matter of fact, believing that foreigners have magic is probably the reason why we are stuck. We hire them and forget to train our own and in the long run, we gain nothing.

We need some bold faces in football management, and hopefully Habineza is exactly what Rwanda needed.

@Rushafrican on Twitter

 

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