13 February 2013

Rwanda: Micho Made His Bed, Now He Must Lay in It


"Without wish to defend Micho as a coach but facts are that under Sellas Tetteh we played 16 matches winning 3, drawing 3 and losing 10 (Benin 0:3,Ivory Coast 0:5) and with Micho we had up to now played 22 matches, 9 wins 6 draws and 7 loses. Its far away from perfection but we have improved with having our own Rwandan boys. Moreover is it correct that all coaches up to now have failed, however, let's be realistic; we are football minnows and any positive result on the continent has golden values to help us one day to be like Cape Verde. For that to happen we need more realistic people unlike this Daniel Kasule."

The above statement is part of a reaction from a dedicated reader of The New Times, Felicien Kanyombya, a resident of Kimironko to my column last week.

In the column I stated that the national football team coach, Milutin Sredojevic's two year contract, that expires in November, shouldn't be extended by the football federation and the Ministry of Sports of Culture.

My opinion is based on the results that the national team has recorded in competitive games that Micho has been in charge of. Those are Cecafa, Africa Cup of Nations and World Cup qualifiers.

According to the ministry and the federation, Micho was hired with clear terms which were taking Rwanda to Cecafa glory and to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations.

Former Sports and Culture minister Joseph Habineza made it clear when commenting on the decision not to extend Branko Tucak's contract, that his future as Amavubi boss depended on whether he qualified Rwanda to 2010 Africa Nations Cup in Angola.

Habineza kept his word and Tucak's contract wasn't extended. Now Micho has failed; will the ministry keep their part of the bargain?

The world over, a coach's tenure is only determined by results recorded in competitive games and Rwanda is no different.

Now that the team has failed, 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 to Algeria (away) and drawn with Benin (home), and their next qualifier is next month away to Mali before hosting Algeria, Mail and winding up the campaign away to Benin.

A quick look on the web shows that save for Otto Pfister and Ratomir Dujkovic, all Amavubi coaches haven't served more than two years since 1972.

It's high time the employers (The Ministry of Sports and Culture and the Football Federation) revised their ambitions based on the available resources.

For Rwanda's case, I believe a coach should be given four years and should be tasked to come up with a national football development plan. Short-term results shouldn't be the overriding factor but long term positive results and sustainability.

Rwanda isn't among the continent's football powerhouses though on rare occasions it upstaged Africa's best, especially when they play in front of their fans at Amahoro National Stadium.

Rwanda's targets of qualifying for Africa Cup of Nations and the World Cup should first be postponed and all energies be channeled into building structures. The chance of 2004 Afcon qualification was not built on; many chances have passed. The team wasn't followed up to ensure continuity.

The football administrators were only interested in short-term success.

This has also affected the national team's set up, thus witnessing lukewarm performances.

Micho is credited for transforming Uganda's SC Villa into a force to reckon with in the region, he improved the team's game tactically and, of course, winning the 2003 Kagame Cup was something so special that he got noticed on the continent.

His other jobs have included spells at Yanga (Tanzania), and Orlando Pirates (South Africa), St George (Ethiopia) and Sudan's Al HilalA coach of Micho's reputation shouldn't have accepted a two year contract well knowing that Rwanda has no structures that can bring success on the first asking.

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