AS the race heats up for the next boss of Rwanda football federation, members that comprise the local football body should be cautious and elect a leader who will play a leading role in rising the bar for Rwandan football.
Brig. Gen. Jean Bosco Kazura, who resigned recently with two years left on his second four-year term, achieved a lot with Rwanda competing at a Fifa Youth World Cup final as his major milestone.
The trickiest part of the story is finding someone, who will create a conducive environment in enhancing and maintaining the bar of success set by the previous administration.
However, if we really need a true leader, who will take Rwanda to the next level, the electorates (clubs) should not be influenced in any way when choosing the next Ferwafa president.
It has been speculated in various corners in the past that Ferwafa’s presidents have always been pre-determined by some sort of invisible ‘powers from above’, something that has left the majority of football fans disgruntled.
By Fifa rules, no one even the government should interfere in the management of football in any given country.
If you have been following Rwandan football closely, you would agree with me that in the past, an order, from somewhere would be given to all eligible Ferwafa voters (clubs) to vote for a certain candidate.
And even members would come to general election meetings knowing well aware of the person that had been sent, winning 100% percent of all the votes.
Even though I don’t want to indulge myself deep in this process of ‘power from above’ appointments, it is high time, football clubs take a responsibility in choosing by ballot the real ideal candidate who will ensure the development of football in Rwanda and will be accountable to all Rwandans.
Let the next Ferwafa president who will rule in the remaining two years be agreed upon by first and second division clubs as well as other members of the football federation.
Who are the candidates running for Ferwafa’s post?
With a few days left to the October 6, 2011 deadline, former Fifa international assistant Celestin Ntagungira a.k.a Abega has been seconded by six-time league champion Rayon Sport to run for the post.
It is also speculated that Abega representing Rayon Sports instead of the referees association (where he belongs) is something that was reached upon by a section of people, whose interest their represent remain a mystery.
Abega with his profile has the capacity to run the football affairs but no one should influence him to run for the post.
Because some people are behind pushing him to run for the post, expect the same people to tear him down when things don’t turn out as we Rwandans do not expect (though I don’t wish that to be).
One of the things that forced Kazura to resign was same group of ‘power from above’ committee which torn him down blaming him for failure to develop the sport with malicious claims yet for God’s sake, the country was just months after competing in the Fifa U-17 World Cup finals in Mexico.
However much we may not appreciate peoples’ successes, let us not be so negative and give s chance for capable people to run football matters in this country without backbiting.
Abega, a principled man is capable of doing the job but only if members elect him on merit and Rwandans give him a positive atmosphere to deliver. Abega retired from refereeing after officiating at the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa.
He was recently appointed by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to coordinate and promote referees in East and Central Africa.
Abega, who has been refereeing since 1997, took charge of his first international debut in 2001 and went on to officiate at big tournaments including the Nations Cup (2006 and 2008) as well as the 2006 and 2010 World Cup.
He has also officiated three Africa Nations Cup, two World Club Championships, two U-20 youth championships, the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and numerous continental and regional tournaments.
Having been in involved in football affairs with much experience of international football, Abega can be the right man to run the football affairs of this country.
With his ambition well out, clear and promising a better future for the country’s football, Abega wants to focus on re-igniting the national team, stabilizing the Primus league calendar and drawing more fans into the stadiums.
However, any leader who will be elected should put his focus on the grassroots because for the national team to be strong there is need to create a formidable grassroots football which will produce talented footballers for the national team.
With no other person expressing his interest to take up the post even with a few days left to the deadline, members of Ferwafa will have the final say on who should guide them in the remaining two years.
Whoever comes on board must be well aware of the challenges at stake and should work himself out to really satisfy Rwandans.
As Rwanda U-17 finished runners-up to Burkina Faso in this year’s Africa U-17 championship and qualified for the World Cup finals, we need to see another strong team that could play at the next finals to be held in Libya 2013.
This time round, Rwanda will pass in the qualification round, a feat which makes it very tricky for the football body and technical team as well.
Rwanda was given rights to host the 2016 Africa Nations Championship (CHAN), but what is being done to raise a team which will win the championship on home ground?
The deteriorating state of Amavubi team need to be addressed by putting focus on the young players and more emphasis should be given to the team which took part in the Mexico U-17 World Cup finals.
Many things need to be addressed to shape up our football and it is upon the new boss who will be voted into office as well as the existing team to make this happen, but this will only happen if all Rwandans played a unifying role in the development of the game in the country.