With just a point out of the possible 15 and sitting at the foot of the table standing, 12 points behind the group leader and three below the team in third place, Rwanda’s chances of qualifying for the 2010 Nations Cup are very minimal following their latest defeat against Algeria.
Mathematically, they still have an outside chance to overtake Zambia, a team they face next in the final qualifier but realistically no, because they’d need to win by a margin of three goals without conceding—and now that is asking too much of a team that has only managed one goal in five World Cup and Nations Cup qualifiers.
Having had a fine ride in the previous qualifying round that included wins over Morocco, Ethiopia and a double over Mauritania, the expectation bar was raised to an unprecedented level going into the final round.
That ride seemed to bring about complacency not only among the players but very much so the team administrators, who thought things were probably going to be the same in the final round as they were in the previous stage.
They seemed to forget the fact that, every step you take forward comes with it more responsibilities in terms of meeting better prepared teams, as they’ve come to realize.
Amavubi Stars are in a very difficult situation, so complex that they need to win the final qualifier against Zambia emphatically on November 14 and hope that the Chipolopolo don’t score.
The wasps’ defence has let in eight goals in five qualifiers, that’s 1.6 goals per game.
For the most optimistic, that target is achievable but when you take into account that the team has scored only one goal in five qualifiers and it has not won in seven international matches, then the record doesn’t give much hope. Or does it?
When the draws for the final qualifying round were made, everyone looked at Egypt as favourites to top the group with Algeria giving them a ride for their money.
Rwanda and Zambia were least fancied to qualify for the World Cup, and all they could fight for was a place in the Nations Cup.
As it’s punning out, Algeria are top, three points ahead of Egypt but that could change when the two sides meet in the last game of the campaign in Cairo next month.
As for the battle between Rwanda and Zambia, it’s also going to the wire the way some analysts had predicted but it’s the Zambians who have an upper hand, courtesy of their four points as compared to Rwanda’s one.
When the two teams on November 14 in Kigali, it’s the hosts who will be under pressure to win, and with the fact that they need to win with a big margin, that makes the task a lot harder.
The Zambians know a draw is enough to put them through, so they won’t have any pressure to look for goals.
In the group phase of the 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, Rwanda ended the campaign with just one win, two draws and seven losses.
They have since gone through four coaches in their bid to find the right formula for the South Africa 2010 qualifiers.
Under the current coach Branko Tucak, the team has made little progress. But that not all, he [Tucak] is not the only one to blame, probably his bosses aren’t making it easy to win matches. Maybe it’s the players, maybe not; you know it’s not easy to understand!
But now with the 2010 qualifying campaign coming to a close and no guarantee [realistically speaking] of going through, the best thing would be for the football federation administrators and their partners to start planning for the future immediately with the team’s base being build around the young Rwandan players not mercenaries, who only come to play for money and nothing else. Oops sorry, it’s just my opinion.