It’s regrettable that Rwanda’s journey in the 2015 African Cup of Nations has ended prematurely, in such dramatically unexpected circumstances. The players, the coaching staff and the fans are all terribly upset that Amavubi will not partake in the final round qualifiers after working so hard to overturn away defeats against Libya and later Congo and progress to the group stage.
Yet for all the hard work from the players and the coaching staff we now know that Rwanda will have to wait a little longer to make her second ever appearance at the continental showpiece, a feat the lads looked determined to reach if their performances in recent months are anything to go by.
Last week’s Caf appeals board decision upholding the country’s disqualification by the 2015 Caf Organising Committee following Congo’s appeal that Amavubi had fielded a player who, disgracefully, goes by two different names means that the boys will not have a chance to achieve their target in the ongoing qualifiers.
Nonetheless, the players and coaching staff bow out with their heads held high. They have done us immensely proud as a nation and have sent a clear message that Rwanda’s football is truly on the rise.
Over the last few months the country has moved dozens of places on Fifa/Coca-Cola World Rankings, and this form has been replicated at the club level with all three Rwanda’s representatives at last month’s regional Cecafa Kagame Cup championships easing past some of the regional powerhouses to advance past group stages – with two of them finishing among the top three.
While the Dady Birori/Agiti Tady Etakiama debacle should never have happened in the first place, it now belongs to the past and we cannot undo the past. It’s easy to point fingers, fanatics are probably even baying for the blood of our football administrators but we must allow ourselves to move past mistakes and forge ahead.
Having seen several home-grown youngsters rise through the ranks and eventually pull on that shirt to proudly represent their country, those responsible now have reason to put more efforts into youth football. The future of our football lies in promoting inter-school competitions, taking the sport to the grassroots, and encouraging and supporting clubs to establish and maintain football academies.
With Rwanda preparing to host the 2016 African Nations Championship (Chan), we should all pull in the same direction, help the team have adequate preparations and put in place the necessary infrastructure and logistics to ensure a successful tournament.
We should not waste more time in unnecessary distractions and Ferwafa should not waste precious time and resources seeking redress. It’s pointless to cry over spilled milk.
The best days of Rwanda’s football are ahead of us.