The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Nshimiyimana Needs Everyone's Backing

Today, Amavubi start preparations for next month's Group H 2014 World Cup qualifiers against Mali away in Bamako on June 9.

Mid this week, head coach Eric Nshimiyimana, who was appointed to take over the reigns of Amavubi team last month replacing current Cranes coach Milutin Sredojovic Micho, named a 26-man team.

The team is comprised of five foreign based-players and 21 home-based players.

According to Nshimiyimana, the basis of summoning these players and leaving out other known on-form foreign-based players lies solely on the new dimension that the country has decided to take in terms of giving a chance to Rwandan players to ensure that the country can have a solid team by 2016 when Rwanda will be hosting the first ever Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) finals.

To avoid short cuts, preparations of such nature are needed but their success always lie in the hands of football fans, managers and administrators who are well known to be impatient when results start going the wrong way.

It is well understandable that Nshimiyimana drafted the squad under the influence of his bosses, Minispoc and Ferwafa, which is good for protecting one's close relationship and conducive working atmosphere.

But Rwandans out there, especially football enthusiasts, won't understand the aim of this policy unless high profile officials of these two institutions explain clearly to Rwandans the policy and its impact rather than leaving Nshimiyimana to fidget explaining something which should be clearly addressed by his superiors.

Personally, am supportive and do clearly understand where we are heading to terms of giving our own Rwandan players a chance to shine but who will answer most of the questions which might occur as Nshimiyimana and his team fail to impress?

We have five matches ahead which include three World Cup qualifiers [Mali, Algeria and Benin] and two CHAN qualification matches against Ethiopia.

What will happen if the Amavubi fail to impress in these five matches? Will Nshimiyimana be sacked or will his bosses still trust him to undertake the same responsibilities for the 2015 Afcon qualifications matches set to start in September?

For our players to be mentally, physically and physiologically strong, they need to have many more international matches in their legs and we will either fail to get any win in the next two years or even win all our matches but the trickiest part how we treat the Amavubi performances.

Nshimiyimana has proven that he is capable of handling the national team but his success and Amavubi at large will depend on our (scribes, fans and administrators) patience.

And this patience is already being tested across some media sections giving platforms for fans who have mostly aired out their negative thoughts on his criteria of selection.

As we force our patience to calm down, both Minispoc and Ferwafa should also find means of strengthening the Primus league, second division league and, if possible, set up junior leagues again.

By adding more resources in the second division and ensuring that only Rwandan players are featuring in the lower division, may help to act as the only source of players to the top division league as well as the national team.

The fact that Michel Ndahinduka, a striker with second division club Bugesera will be making his debut for the Amavubi team shows that the second division has potential players but that simply need to be monitored.

When you compare average age of our players on the national team, you will find that by 2016, we will have a few players still playing football to their highest level and yet Rwanda should host and win the CHAN title whatsoever. We have demonstrated in the past that we are good hosts but ensuring that African title remains on Rwandan soil has been a mission impossible because our teams have either not had enough time to prepare capable players or we have diverted into short cuts. So whether we qualify for next year's CHAN finals in South Africa or not, our mission in 2016 should be focused on being excellent hosts and title winners.

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