Amavubi should end their ghosts on international stage

IN THE wake of Amavubi Stars’ miraculous 1-all draw with Mali in 2014 Fifa World Cup qualifier last weekend, the team needs to erase ghosts of poor performance in decisive matches in order to earn qualification for future world and continental competitions.
Dr. Joseph Kamugisha
Dr. Joseph Kamugisha

IN THE wake of Amavubi Stars’ miraculous 1-all draw with Mali in 2014 Fifa World Cup qualifier last weekend, the team needs to erase ghosts of poor performance in decisive matches in order to earn qualification for future world and continental competitions.

Ever since Rwanda qualified for 2004 Afcon in Tunisia, the senior football team has not qualified for any major competition again and the current state of affairs is highly unlikely to change until we start to win the home matches.

Lack of consistency coupled with miscellaneous results in several Afcon and world qualifying campaigns has hampered Amavubi success for the past nine years. 

Away from home and in games of less importance to their progression, the wasps have always won or drawn but when it comes to the big stage where the stakes are higher, the team goes missing.  

In the 2012 Afcon qualifiers, Amavubi Stars were beaten 3-1 at home in a must-win game against Benin led by their European-based star Razak Omotoyossi. However, the Wasps managed win in Benin, a result that did not improve their position to qualify.

Towards the end of 2012, Amavubi hosted a seemingly weak and disorganised Nigeria side that drew 1-all at Stade de Kigali in Nyamirambo. But on the return leg in Nigeria, Amavubi fell 2-0 with the same team.

Though Nigeria is bigger than Rwanda on sporting aspect and football in particular, they should have utilised their weaknesses at the time. Nigeria went on to win the 2013 Afcon hosted by South Africa.

For the third successive year, we have witnessed the same setbacks in the Amavubi camp. They hosted Mali in a must-win situation only to lose stamina towards the end of the game. 

During this encounter, Mali beat Amavubi 2-1 at Amahoro National Stadium to boost their chances of 2014 World Cup qualification. 

In a similar scenario, 10-man Amavubi Stars surprisingly held Mali at Bamako International Stadium last weekend. 

Amavubi fought for a point that also hampered the West African side’s chances of qualifying to the second phase of the Brazil 2014 World Cup qualifiers. 

Striker Meddie Kagere was again on the scoreboard as he put the visitors ahead in the first half before Mali pulled their equaliser in the second half through Mahamadou Ndiaye.

At Bamako International Stadium, Mali needed a win at all costs to ensure that their dream of making it to the World Cup remain alive with two matches to go in the second round qualifying stage.

The Eagles team is equipped with talented professionals and has been bronze medalists at the 2012 and 2013 Afcon finals. 

Now the fact that Amavubi can manage to push them for 90 minutes and with one-man down means that the Wasps possess a lot of potential that has not properly been utilised.

Rwanda is currently placed bottom of group H with two points out of possible 12 points and a head of the table leaders’ visit this weekend. 

Rwanda host Algeria on Sunday before finalising their fixtures with an away game to Benin. Amavubi technical committee should now be laying down stringent measures to replace aged stars like team captain Olivier Karekezi, Kagere and Mao Kalisa among others.