Did I hear that clearly? That Sam Timbe can do a better job for the national soccer side, the Amavubi Stars? Than the man currently in charge? Whoever has this theory in mind must be dreaming of the impossible.
Oh, did I say impossible? No it isn’t impossible but just nearly impossible.
Never say never in life, but in this particular case in the world of football. Atraco Fc are the 2009 Cecafa/Kagame Cup champions! That Impossible is nothing? It could be true.
Atraco are the reigning national league champions, and are odds on to successfully retain their crown.
They are still on a treble trek, if they can add the league and MTN Peace Cup (Amahoro Cup) to the Kagame Cup. That’s a dream season for any coach.
So, it’s highly unlikely that Timbe, the ‘silent assassin’ isn’t dreaming of something in that particular line—not that he can do a better job than Branko Tucak, but that he has the opportunity to win a treble in his debut season with the Rwandan club.
Timbe can actually do a good job for the national team but he can’t get the job in the first place, reasons among them him being a Ugandan.
It’s nearly impossible for a Ugandan coach to be in charge of Rwanda’s national team, and the other way round. So, Timbe shouldn’t dare to start dreaming about that, but again in football, you can never say never.
Another significant factor that would rule him out for the job is his lack of experience in international football.
His coaching career hasn’t gone beyond club football, but even in case he had that experience, he, like many other good coaches like him, is African.
For so long, I’ve always wondered why African countries are so obsessed with European coaches. Some countries including Rwanda would prefer to employ a mediocre European coach than their own countrymen.
These so called European “football masters” like Michael Nees earn inflated wages for doing virtually nothing.
I’m not going to sit here and start preaching that local coaches are better than their European counterparts, no that’s not the intent of this article, but if they’re not given the chance to prove what they can do, how are we ever going to know if they truly can do a better job?
Ever since, Ratomir Djuckovic packed his bags and left after taking Rwanda to her first ever appearance at the 2004 Nations Cup finals in Tunisia, Ferwafa and the sports ministry have hired and sacked three different European coaches, and you cannot put your house on a long term future of the fourth (currently in charge).
Tucak had a poor start, losing to Sudan in the CHAN qualifiers but then went on a surprise rollercoaster ride of four wins and a draw in the last 2010 World Cup and Nations Cup qualifying round.
Those wins included the 3-1 success against Morocco in Kigali, 4-0 and 1-0 victories over Mauritania (home and away) as well as a 2-1 against Ethiopia in Addis Ababa.
Yet, since losing 2-0 away to Morocco, Amavubi have managed just a single draw against Algeria and lost three to Malawi (friendly), Zambia and Egypt.
And they have Egypt at home in their next competitive match in September, it can’t get any tougher.
Crossing the bridge before you reach it
The other day, while giving a speech at the welcome party for Atraco on winning the 2009 Cecafa/Kagame Cup in Sudan, sports minister Joseph Habineza made a statement that made me wonder how far one can go as far as optimism is concerned.
The good minister assured Rwandans that Amavubi Stars will participate in the 2010 Africa Nations Cup. He based his optimism on Atraco’s surprise success in Khartoum.
He said, “Atraco’s victory implies that Amavubi Stars should also qualify for the African Nations’ Cup finals. Amavubi team started the qualification on a poor note and they will emulate Atraco to win the remaining qualifiers and thus earn qualification to CAN finals.”
“I am therefore assuring you all (Rwandans) that Amavubi Stars will qualify for CAN finals.
“I say on this date (July 14) and we fail to reach Angola finals, I stand to be challenged by all Rwandans,” he stressed.
I say, that’s crossing a bridge before you reach it. Minister Habineza should be the last person to make such statements, especially the last one where he says, he stands to be challenged if Rwanda doesn’t qualify for CAN!
I’m not saying the minister or anyone else shouldn’t express their optimism (because they’re entitled to it), but I wonder if Mr. Habineza first thought of the cost of realizing that target.
For Amavubi to qualify for the 2010 CAN, they must win the remaining three games, starting with the African champions Egypt and Zambia at home before another must win clash away to Algeria.
Easy said than done…
What guarantee does the Sports Minister have to believe that Tucak can lead Rwanda to at least one or two wins in the remaining three ties? What happens to the good minister or the coach if Rwanda doesn’t qualify?
What more excuses will Ferwafa give for this particular failure? And last but not least, what would be the fate of some senior players, who are obviously not performing?
If no one has immediate answers to the above questions, then how could one come up with inopportune statements as minister Habineza’s? The team has not won in the last five matches, what makes us believe that it is going to win the next three (qualifiers)?
Winning, just like losing is a habit, which if you’re addicted to one; it’s very difficult to switch to the other, so to base your argument in Amavubi’s case on Atraco’s situation clearly shows that something is terribly wrong somewhere.
Impossible is nothing! Let’s keep dreaming.