Andrew Buteera is looking to regain his spot in the senior national side 'Amavubi Stars' after close to eight months on the sidelines.
The 18-year-old creative midfielder suffered a knee injury during last year's Cecafa Challenge Cup final between Rwanda and the Uganda Cranes. At the time, Buteera had made seven appearances for Amavubi, and had established himself as a front-line player.
At the time of the injury, initial diagnosis suggested that he would be out for a few weeks but after further checks, the injury was diagnosed as an anterior cruciate ligament injury. Early this year, he underwent surgery in France which ruled him out of action for seven months.
However, the road to recovery has been smooth enough for Buteera according to his doctor Patrick Rutamu. Last week, the player started light training at Ferwafa grounds as he bids to step up his recovery from the injury.
"He has started a little jogging with his fellow Junior Wasps players. He will be back of course but at the moment, he is still far from match fit and needs plenty of physical training to get back into shape," Rutamu said.
Buteera is now more determined than ever to force his way back into Milutin 'Micho' Sredojevic's team. "I've been out for a long time but it's a great relief to be out there jogging again," he said. "I know I still have some time on the sidelines as I try to get my fitness back, but I still want to thank everyone who has supported me during this difficult time."
"I've missed a lot this year and I can't wait to get back into the swing of things," he added. "Obviously the first two months after the injury were the hardest; I couldn't really move much, although I was encouraged to try to get on my feet. My friends and family helped me get through it. I'm here to get back to 100 per cent and hopefully force my way back into the Amavubi team."
With Rwanda out of the 2013 Africa Nations Cup qualifiers following a 2-0 defeat in the return leg against Nigeria, Buteera will fancy his chances in the 2014 Fifa World Cup qualifiers.
Amavubi had a terrible start to their qualifying campaign after a 4-0 defeat against Algeria but a 1-all draw against Benin keeps them in the running for one of five slots available for African teams.
Prior to his injury, the Proline Academy midfielder played in an advanced midfield position for Amavubi and Micho should be excited about what the starlet will offer when the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign resumes.
"He is a great prospect for Rwandan football. At just 18 years, he is already a key player for the national team," the Serbian said.
Amavubi have struggled to find the back of the net since his injury. The team has scored three goals in five matches since.
"Technically, he is a very gifted player and his vision is tremendous. He gives the team something extra in the final third and I have no doubt that he will be a great addition to the team," Micho continued.
Buteera's comeback is also a welcome relief for Junior Wasps coach Richard Tardy. Should the team negotiate the Mali hurdle in the second round of the 2013 Africa Youth Championship qualifiers, Buteera will definitely play a part in the third and final qualifying round against Zambia.
Buteera was instrumental in Rwanda's qualification to last year's Fifa U-17 World Cup in Mexico. He was also pivotal for the Wasps during their run to last year's Cecafa Challenge Cup final.