AFTER a disappointing qualification campaign for the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations and World Cup, mainly orchestrated by the group that has been at the helm of the national team for the best part of the last decade, the overhauled Amavubi Stars, has shown some signs of recovery at the on-going Orange Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup in Kenya.
In 2004, a bunch of unknown footballers made history as Rwanda made her maiden appearance at the African Nation’s Cup in Tunisia.
Players like Jimmy Gatete, Olivier Karekezi, and Jimmy Mulisa enjoyed a heroes’ welcome on their return to a grateful nation.
However, much of the team disappeared in oblivion immediate after the 2004 showing, some of the players have disappeared without a trace and the team’s fortunes have been mixed since.
Coaches have came and gone without achieving much success since.
Three qualification campaigns have gone by in thin air because Rwanda has tried to relive the 2004 memories but to no effect- all this because the success of 2004 was not taken as a stepping stone.
Rwanda may not be one of the powerhouses of African football, but on many occasions, the wasps have proved more than capable against some of the continent’s top teams as Nigeria and Ghana can testify.
From the team that left the nation craving for more in Tunisia (2004 CAN), Said Abedi Makasi, Hamad Ndikumana, Olivier Karekezi and Jimmy Gatete are the only players still donning the national colours.
The team wasn’t followed up to ensure continuity.
Football administrators only looked at short-term results leaving the long-term aspect to whoever it may concern.
But Rwanda’s football governing body, Ferwafa seem to have finally seen the light following their decision to give chance to the budding talent at the Orange Challenge Cup which peaks tomorrow when Amavubi take on defending champions Uganda Cranes at Nairobi’s Nyayo stadium.
Over the last couple of years, Rwandan football has not fared well as far as grooming local talent is concerned even though recent signs show that the tide could be changing for the better.
Short term results with little emphasis on the long-term should be done away with if the sport is to move forward and there is no better way to achieve this than to give a chance to local youngsters.
Looking at the senior national team that is supposed to be fed by the national junior category teams, it’s still a team of players whose pension days are on the brink.
Not very many junior players have been coming through the ranks but with the current crop of players taking part in the Cecafa Challenge Cup, everything points to a bright future for local football.
Rwandan soccer has struggled to bridge the gap left by a lost generation, with young players now coming through to fill the void, this group should be given the chance to shine in national colours.
This is the time to seize the chance.