The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Time Up for Micho

column

For every sports fan, there comes a time when he/ she expresses dissatisfaction with the man in charge of their team. When you think it's time for the manager to gracefully step aside.

Last year, President Paul Kagame made international headlines when he called on Arsenal's Arsene Wenger to step aside.

"I very much support Arsenal - but to be honest Wenger needs to coach another team now and Arsenal needs another coach," said Paul Kagame on Twitter following Arsenal's defeat against Manchester United.

"When a good team (players) and a good coach fail for long to deliver, one of them has to change, or even both!!

"The real/main danger is for anyone to get used to mediocre/lacklustre performance and/or results and accepts to live with it ... or keeps finding excuses for it!!!".

With his contract up for renewal in November, Milutin Sredojevic a.k.a Micho's tenure promised so many yet it has achieved nothing.

The 43-year-old took over from Ghanaian Sellas Tetteh, who resigned after a 5-0 defeat to Ivory Coast in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

Forget the lukewarm form, injuries or any other extenuating circumstances; it has been a mediocre period for all involved.

The highlight of Amavubi under Micho is taking Rwanda to the 2011 Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup final in Tanzania where they lost to Uganda.

For a team like that to put on a performance so lacking in every aspect essential to competitive football, blame squarely falls on one man; the man who prepared them.

"I am ready to take up this challenge and guide Rwanda to another level," Sredojevic said at his unveiling.

His observation, when he spoke of pride and self-belief, were a smokescreen for the man sensed failure from the start.

Sredojevic was tasked to take the team to the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations Cup but he failed on the first hurdle against Nigeria.

The ministry and the federation should be looking for for the team's next coach.

It was made clear that Micho's future as Amavubi boss depended on whether he can qualify Rwanda to Africa Nations Cup.

Now that the team has failed to qualify, Micho shouldn't be retained. His team's chances of reaching the next round of the Fifa World Cup Brazil 2014 are lower than slim.

Amavubi have already lost twice against Algeria (away) and Benin (home), and their next qualifier is next month away to Mali before hosting Algeria and winding up the campaign away to Benin.

Micho is proud of his strategy but one could argue that, in his tenure, he has maintained the same team that he inherited from Tetteh save for the few U-17 graduates.

He may point to the revamping careers of Olivier Karekezi, Meddi Kagere and giving a chance to Charles Tibingana and Emery Bayisenge as evidence of his success with young players. Fans believe there is little point coaching players who have achieved nothing.

I'm talking about players such as Bayisenge, Frederic Ndaka, Jean Claude Iranzi, Andrew Buteera and Tibingana, who have nothing to do with Rwanda's past failures. These are players who can be molded to the coach's liking.

Modern football revolves 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.

Come November Rwanda should move on, to do the right thing. Thank Micho for two years of service and look to the future with another forward-thinking coach.

Kenyan media has reported that he is interested in becoming Harambee Stars' coach.

Micho was present at Nyayao Stadium when Kenya played Burundi in the CHAN qualifiers something that fuelled the speculation.

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