Mashami vows to overhaul Amavubi

Vincent Mashami was unveiled on Monday as the new Amavubi head coach. He has summoned 32 players to start intensive preparations today ahead of the AFCON qualifier against Ivory Coast in Kigali on September 9. File photo.

Vincent Mashami has promised to instill a winning mentality into the Amavubi players and overhaul the team for the better as the new manager takes charge of his first training session today.

The former APR coach said  this while he was being unveiled  to the media as the new Amavubi head coach at Rwanda Football Association (Ferwafa) headquarters on Monday.

Mashami replaced German Antoine Hey who resigned from the position in February after Rwanda’s disappointing exit from group stages at this year’s African Nations Championship (CHAN) finals in Morocco.

His first competitive match as Amavubi coach will come on September 9 when Rwanda host Ivory Coast at Kigali Stadium in a Group H qualifier match for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals to be staged in Cameroon.

Mashami said, “It is a great honour for me to serve the country as head coach of the national team. Today (Monday) is a memorable day for me, I thank Ferwafa and the Ministry of Sports for believing in me. I am here to work and I want – along with my coaching staff – to deliver to our best and bring back football joy to Rwandans.”

He added,” We are starting training Wednesday (today), I am looking forward to meeting and speaking with the players. Our objective is to qualify for next year’s AFCON.”

The soft-spoken tactician previously served as assistant coach twice, first to Irishman Johnny McKinstry before retaining the position in Amavubi under German Antoine Hey.

Besides the senior Amavubi, Mashami has also in the past managed the national teams at youth, junior and Under-23 (Olympic) level. He was assistant to Frenchman Richard Tardy during the famous 2011 campaign as Rwanda reached the final of the CAF Africa U17 Cup of Nations (U17 AFCON) in Kigali to qualify for the 2011 FIFA U17 World Cup in Mexico.

The 32-man provisional squad to face Ivory Coast, which was due to report to residential camp last night at La Palisse Hotel Nyandungu, is dominated by home-based players including a few new faces and a number of players who are returning to the national team after a long lay-off with injuries and struggles for form.

The foreign-based players will join camp five days before the game as mandated by FIFA.

Rwanda will be seeking to get the most of home advantage come September 9 when they face Les Elephants after starting the group campaign with a 2-1 defeat to Central African Republic in Bangui, in June last year.

The 2015 African champions, Ivory Coast, also got off to a low note with a 3-2 loss to Guinea.

Mashami, who signed a one-year renewable contract as Amavubi head coach last week, will assisted by Jimmy Mulisa and Innocent Seninga as the first and second assistant coaches, respectively.

Other members of the technical staff:

Thomas Higiro (Goalkeeping Coach), Jean Paul Niyintunze (Fitness Coach), Jackson Jacques Rutayisire (Team Manager), Patrick Rutamu (Physiotherapist), Asouman Nuhu (Physio), Pierre Baziki (Kit Manager) and Jacques Munyaneza (Assistant Kit Manager).