I don’t consider my self an expert on regional football but over the years thanks to my work, I have come into contact with fellows who have shaped football in the East and Central Africa.
And I rate Milutin Sredojevic popularly known Micho among the most influential foreign coaches to have contributed to the regional game.
With experience from Tanzania (Yanga), Uganda (SC Villa),Saint-George(Ethiopia), Orlando Pirates(South Africa) and Al-Hilal Omdurman (Sudan).
One thing that I have come to admire about the Serb is the professionalism he brings to the clubs he manages.
However, with little or no experience with any national team, East Africa’s answer to Jose Mourinho will have to be exceptional to lead Rwanda to another level.
Amavubi Stars, may not be one of the continent football powerhouses, but over time they have proven more than capable against some of the continent’s top teams like Nigeria and Ghana, especially when they play in front of their fans at Amahoro National Stadium.
Rwanda’s target is to qualify for Africa Cup of Nations and the World Cup in Brazil. To get there, Amavubi have a number of huddles to overcome, and today’s Cecafa Senior Challenge cup final against bitter rivals Uganda should be the starting point.
With a new coach and young fresh legs making up the new face of the team, qualification is definitely within reach.
In 2004, the Rwandan team beat all odds, and qualified, for the first time, for the prestigious tournament. However we should stop living in the past and focus on the future.
This is a real opportunity for the new dawn of Rwandan football to build on something that has been developed at U-17 level.
Here is a group of young players who seem to like being with each other on international duty.
Micho goes into today’s game knowing it’s his platform to greater things. He’s a professional but he’s going to be thinking about the next two years of the national team.
His priority should be the future. He should encourage young players coming through for the team and I think he needs to be encouraged.
I’m talking about players such as Emery Bayisenge, Frederic Ndaka, Jean Claude Iranzi, Andrew Buteera and Charles Tibingana Mwesigye who have nothing to do with Rwanda’s past failures. These are players who can be moulded to the coach’s liking.
Modern football revokes around players who can move the ball well and play in the pockets of space in between the traditional lines of midfield and attack rather than just playing in straight lines and outdated formations.
Don’t get me wrong, we’re going to need some experienced figures like Jean Claude Ndoli, Eric Gasana and Haruna Niyonzima around.
But it’s a waste of time continuing with some players who have proven they aren’t good at this level and others who have been good but probably aren’t now.
The chance of 2004 was not built on; many chances have passed, of the team that featured in Tunisia only Olivier Karekezi undeservedly still dons the national colours. The team wasn’t followed up to ensure continuity.
The football administrators only looked at short time results without looking to the future. The clubs also have a hand in the decaying football standards.
Rwandan football clubs have failed to live with the country’s development pace and this has not been helped by the kind of management, club managers are exercising.
The local clubs want short term results not looking to the future and they have failed to explore the golden talents that lay to waste in the country.
This has also affected the National team’s set up thus witnessing lukewarm performances.
Being able to attract regional stars weighs tones, Rwanda football has moved a step further however this has suffocated the development of local talent.