For football followers in this country, this week, ending today will, in my opinion and for different reasons, be remembered for many, many years to come. It started with APR beating Military 13-0 in the league, a record win in the history of Rwandan club football, that that was followed again APR appointing a new coach, a European for that matter.
And it was crowned by Rayon Sports getting caught in flight gridlocks on their way for a Caf Confederations Cup fixture with Sudan’s El Merreikh.
In football, goals provide the biggest ingredient as far as making a match interesting to watch but when a side scores with every attempt on target, chances of question marks being raised as high as odds being against Rene Feller to succeed as APR coach.
After that particular game (fortunately or otherwise I didn’t watch it), there were arguments, the majority of them coming from rival fans on suspicion that, maybe APR ‘bought’ the game.
But, like I have already admitted, I wasn’t at the game, so I left it to those who watched it to draw their own conclusions.
Three days after massacring fellow military side and in doing so, improving their goal scored column, APR at least officially announced Feller as their new head coach replacing the sacked Andy Mfutila.
The Dutchman was in the crowd that witnessed the 13-0 victory and he must have instantly fallen in love with what he saw hence getting easily convinced to accept APR’s offer.
Before he was officially announced, Feller had spent the previous two weeks or so in the country engaged in talks with club officials, actually the club must have started courting him when Mfutila was still in charge, at least on the face of it.
And along, at least since the start of the season, APR officials knew they wanted a new coach because Mfutila had ‘overstayed’ his welcome and my sources inside the club tell me, Feller was first choice for some time.
However, prior to getting into further details about Feller’s appointment, I must say, I am very proud as a write this, for my role in pushing APR into going for a European coach after years of dangling with second-rate Africa coaches.
With due respect to all the men that have been hired and later fired to lead APR to the ‘promised’ land, none of them was capable is realizing that dream.
That said but not dusted yet, I’m not saying Feller is the right man to succeed where all his predecessors failed but perhaps we shouldn’t rush into judging him even before he does his first training.
He’s European and that factor alone may work in his favour as far as getting the support and independence to rule over his team that most of his predecessors never had.
Majority of ex-APR coaches never got the chance to get involved in the signing of new players or at least recommend—all they did was to train whichever players brought to them by their bosses.
But with Feller, I hope he’ll be professional enough to demand that he’s left to run the first team his way for as long as he’s doing what is required of him and taking the club forwards towards that ‘promised’ land that I’ve always talked about.
No one needs to be reminded that APR is a big club, compared to all the clubs in this side of the continent with the potential to become even bigger and possibly turn into one of the leading clubs in Africa.
It may sound too optimistic for Rwanda’s most successful club from a practical point of view given their history of lacking patience with coaches, but the bottom line is, time has come for that to change.
Club officials should be brave enough to learn from past mistakes if APR is ever going to turn into what some of its top leaders wish for, which is none other than winning something on the big stage.
Anyway, Feller has just come and I am sure we have shall have enough time to analyze him and his ability to be the redeemer, from an APR fan’s point of view.
And mow turning to the unfortunate event that wrapped up this memorable week, which concerns Rayon’s Confederations Cup fixture with Sudan side El Merreikh.
The club had to alter their travel schedule to Khartoum on two separate occasions, first on Wednesday then on Thursday, until they finally managed to travel on Friday with the game scheduled to be played on Saturday (yesterday).
But, wait a minute that was not all the mess they had to go through—the most disturbing incidence happened in Nairobi where they got stranded for the whole of Friday because they didn’t have Sudanese visas.
According to Ferwafa, the visas were supposed to be delivered by their Sudanese counterparts to Kenya Airways to allow the team proceed to Khartoum from Nairobi, yet the hosts were expecting the Rwandan side to arrive with Egyptian Air flight.
Such are many others that I can’t write here are never the circumstances under which a team going to represent a county on a continental assignment should be going through in this era.
It’s so embarrassing not only to the club in particular but to the entire nation and I suggest such things mustn’t be allowed to happen to a Rwandan team—remember the prestige with which our neighbors treat us?
That’s food for thought for the concerned people. Think about it. And as for APR and appointing a white coach, yours truly 1-0 APR at least at half time.