The African Cup of Nations 2019 just kicked off yesterday. The teams are ready to compete and the excitement is at all time high. For Rwandans, home and abroad, it is time to pick which team to support because the Rwandan team ( Amavubi) is nowhere to be found. Once again, we are reminded how we have a mediocre team. We are reminded of our football curse. Seriously, what has happened to Rwandan football over the years?
Of all the East African Community member countries, we are the only country that did not quality in this biggest and most popular football competition on the African continent. Again, I ask, What is wrong with our football? All our neighbors have qualified, Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, and DRC. Seriously, what is wrong with our football?
The Football Association has got some explaining to do. Is it the lack of players? Is it the lack of funds? Is it the whole management and organization of our football association? These are some of the questions we should be asking ourselves. What can we do bring back our football back to life?
I remember the 2004 Amavubi, which made us proud and made it to the AFCON championship for the first time. Rwandans were all excited. It has been 15 years ago, but I still remember it as it was yesterday. Back then, we had fewer resources than ( we do ) today. So, it can’t the resources. Back then, we had Rwandan players competing at the highest level in the AFCON. Today, we are seating at home watching our neighbors compete.
We are seating watching our neighbors compete. As I watch the game between Burundi ( our twin country ) against Nigeria, I couldn’t but to notice how far our football is behind compared to our neighbors. We used to compete with Burundi and they were lucky to draw with us. We used to win against Uganda and our games were very competitive. After a decisive win of “Ugandan Cranes” of Uganda over “Les Leopards” of DRC, I couldn’t help but wonder what has happened with our football.
In 2019, we have more resources than we did in 2004. We have football academies. We hardly had any in 2004. We have better equipped stadiums and more playground than we did in 2004. Seriously, what has happened to our football? Who can end our football curse? Is there something we can do or we should accept our fate and move on with cycling instead. That is the only sport we seem to master these days. As a football fan, I miss watching Amavubi with pride representing at the international stage. Those in charge should take a look at themselves because we are tired of mediocrity in our football.
Rest in Peace our Amavubi. We miss you!