The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Nshimiyimana Will Have Hands Full At APR

Eric Nshimiyimana will be heavily tested as APR football club head coach when the new national football league season starts next month.

The soft spoken former Rwandan international was been endorsed by the club's top hierarchy as the Army club head coach last week. Though we have not sniffed through the details of his contract with the club, we are looking at the sporting prospects and task at hand for the new coach.

Nshimiyimana will have to strive for perfection. When it comes to sports and football in particular you have to divert a bit from military science to sports science. Though both disciplines have a lot of aspects in common, a natural instinct is required to succeed on both fronts.

The new APR coach will have to exhibit high level of discipline at work if he is to convince his bosses that he is the right man to take the club to the next level.

APR football club boast one of the rich financial muscle on the African continent with a massive human resource behind them. It does not rely on match gate collections for survival.APR players are paid well and only asked to deliver on the pitch.

At APR, there is high need for international sporting success. Although APR has not been in existence for a long time compared to clubs like TP Mazembe of Democratic Republic of Congo and Zamalek of Egypt, the reigning Rwandan champions are yet to win silverware on the continent.

The club has in past seasons invested heavily in the playing staff to boast their continental ambitions but have not succeeded. With nearly 18-years of existence, the club is still yearning for their first ever silverware to be won on the continental stage.

No coach has achieved this at APR before and all eyes now will be directed towards Nshimiyimana, who should well be aware of the tough task ahead for him.

However, a technical message for him is that to achieve big things one needs to be patient and work diligently. You do not win trophies by signing big or expensive players but build a team with a good sporting integrity and high level of competitiveness.

APR has always signed top players not only from neighboring countries but from the whole of Africa and even beyond in an attempt to compete favorably in CAF competitions. This has not worked out properly as seen of recent with a crop of misfiring Brazilians.

I call Nshimiyimana's test hard and tough because many local and foreign coaches have tried to meet the club's top targets on international stage and failed. The latest culprit was the Dutchman Ernest Brandts, who was been at the Army club for two years.

The 56-year old came at APR with a convincing curriculum vitae but his yields were not worth. The Dutchman twice failed to win the Cecafa-Kagame Cup club championship.

He was always falling short with CAF engagements and failed to take the team beyond the first round of the lucrative CAF Champion's League.

Brandts won two national football league and two Peace Cup titles in two seasons as APR coach but was not enough to convince his bosses. To win the league with APR is deemed not a difficult task given the level of opposition from other clubs.

Brandts failure on the CAF and CECAFA stages prompted his employers not to renew his contract that expired on July 31.

Good luck to Nshimiyimana, who has worked under so many national team coaches as the assistant coach and has been the head coach of Isonga Football club. He deserves the chance to show what he is made of and all eyes will be on him when the new season gets underway on September 15.

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