The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Things Micho Must Do to Turn Around Amavubi's Fortunes

A few minutes to the end of Amavubi Stars 2-2 draw with Namibia at Amahoro National stadium on Wednesday last week, full back, Hamdan Bariyanga did the outrageous when he used his hand to keep out a net-bound ball to save Rwanda from a home loss.

With the Cecafa Challenge tournament in Kampala this week, Head coach Milutin 'Micho' Sredojovic must sort out the tactics starting with the mess in defence to avoid early exit.

Wednesday's game was an important one. After some poor performances early in his spell, Micho wants to be judged on the right side after the tournament in Kampala.

Had Micho's team won, we would be talking about other things now. They would have gone into the tournament with heads held high however his defence was in a mess and may be a determinant if they are to face teams that thrive on counter attacks.

The most encouraging thing that Micho has brought to the team is giving chance to a breed of youngsters, most notably Emery Bayisenge (APR), Alexis Ngirimana (SC Kiyovu) and Marcel Nzarora (SC Kiyovu). My credit also goes to him for reigniting the career of Mwemere Girinshuti (AS Kigali).

So what are the key areas Micho and his coaching team must sort out as they search for Rwanda's second Cecafa triumph?

1) Executing strike force

Jimmy Mbaraga scored Amavubi's opening goal in fifty seventh minute after a good exchange with Elias Uzamukunda, and the duo look like they feel comfortable together up front. However at times they looked like not coordinating well.

The finest partnerships work for each other, but they looked hardly like the team's new found goal getters. They lack understanding between themselves.

It's a problem for Micho, Uzamukunda plays best when he is the lone striker if his form at APR and AS Kigali is taken in account.

2) Give Haruna the freedom to roam

The Tanzania based international has stuck out as the national team's most exciting and risk taking player for some time.

He should be played as a play-maker; he can carry the ball and race into enemy territory genuinely to frighten opponents. He can also fall back to defend enthusiastically, to help out Jean Baptiste Mugiraneza.

His ability must be appreciated with giving him more responsibilities on the field let it be known to him that the team plays through him. It is time he plays behind the striker (s). Let him have the freedom to roam between the middle of the pack and the front.

3) Solve the backline problem

It's most important that the team goes into the tournament, with a tried and tested backline.

Hamdan Bariyanga (APR), Yves Kwizera (Rayon Sport), Stephen Godfroid (Vietnam), Francois Habyarimana (APR), Mwemere Girinshuti (AS Kigali), Ismail Nshutiyamagara (APR), Mbuyu Twite (Yanga), Emery Bayisenge (APR), Alexis Ngirimana (SC Kiyovu), Fabrice Twagizimana (Police), Aimable Niyikiza (SC Kiyovu) and Patrick Umwungeli (SC Kiyovu) are all outstanding players by our standards.

When Nshutiyamagara, Bayisenge and Mwemere are playing well and in charge, the team should be on top. However they haven't been consistent.

Going by the show on Wednesday, Micho needs to impose his kind of game on his defence and he should show them the importance of donning the national shirt.

4) Bring on game changers

Over the years there has been a problem of removing a player without having a capable replacement.

After sorting out the starting lineup, Micho should have substitutions in mind that he knows can shift the game in favour of the stars. Putting on a not mentally strong player given the magnitude of the game is a gamble that is not needed.

5) Avoid Uganda till finals

It is thorny to avoid the conclusion that any team isn't grappling with who to deal with the hosts.

At any stage if Rwanda manages to pull off a shock against Uganda it will be a chance for Micho to restore faith in the team.

A win is vital for the Serb if he wants to achieve some breathing space. A convincing win, any win, would do better. There is, however, one hitch. Uganda's tormentor in Chief, Oliver Karekezi might not be in Kampala.

The absence of some senior players may leave a team looking severely weakened.

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