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HomeSport NewsThe conundrum of selecting Amavubi head coach

The conundrum of selecting Amavubi head coach

Rwanda’s national football team, Amavubi, has hired numerous coaches over the years, the most recent acquisition being Spaniard Carlos Ferrer. But ever since Ratomir Dujković who guided the team to the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia, all his successors have either fallen shot or failed miserably.

We keep hiring and sacking. So, what should Rwanda look out for while searching for a new head coach as the country embarks on another qualification campaign?

What should be the qualities of the next coach? Why can’t the team try a local? Does the team always need to go for a European coach? Does the coach who eventually takes the job have the quality of players to make his work a bit easier?

Selecting the right head coach is a critical decision for FERWAFA and the Ministry of Sports, as Amavubi prepare for the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in Group C, which also includes Nigeria, South Africa, Benin, and Zimbabwe.

Does Rwanda have a chance to qualify from the Group, or even make playoffs? What are the qualities that the decision-makers must look out for in their next coach?

Experience in African football

The next coach should have a solid track record of coaching at a high level, ideally with experience in African football. Experience in international competitions is particularly valuable.

Choosing a coach with experience and knowledge of African football is a wise decision. African football is unique in its style, challenges, and dynamics, and having a coach who understands these aspects can greatly benefit the team.

African football is known for its diversity in playing styles. Different regions and countries have their own distinctive approaches to the game. A coach with experience in African football will be best equipped to adapt and employ tactics and strategies that counter the strengths of opponents and exploit their weaknesses.

Football in Africa is deeply rooted in the local culture and traditions of each country. A coach with knowledge of African football will be more attuned to the cultural aspects that can influence player motivation and team dynamics.

A coach with experience in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) will be better prepared to guide the team through the challenges of competing at the continental level yet history tells us that FERWAFA are obsessed with European coaches, some of whom, at times, have never stepped on an African football pitch!

Rwandans, much like all football fans, are passionate, and the expectations can be hopelessly high. A coach who understands the pressure and demands of African football can manage the psychological aspects of the game more effectively.

However, when selecting the next Amavubi coach, it’s essential to prioritize not only experience and knowledge of African football but also coaching skills, leadership qualities, and the ability to work with the existing team and administration.

The next coach should possess strong tactical knowledge and the ability to adapt strategies to different opponents. They must be able to devise game plans that suit the strengths and weaknesses of the national team which, honestly, is quite limited in quality.

Understanding Rwandan football

Familiarity with Rwandan football culture, players, and the country’s football system can be a valuable asset for the next coach. While it’s true that Rwanda has had a series of European coaches, there’s no strict rule that a coach must be of European origin.

Success in football is about finding the right fit. Rwanda could consider local coaches, provided they meet the criteria. Local coaches might better understand local football and be more accessible to young talent, even though that basket of local coaches is so limited, unfortunately.

The quality of players in a national team is crucial. A good coach can further enhance player development. Having a mix of experienced and young players who are committed and passionate about representing their country is essential.

Chances in the qualifiers

Group C is a challenging group with teams like Nigeria and South Africa, who have historically been strong in African football. Benin and Zimbabwe are no pushovers either. So, Rwanda will surely have its work cut out; every game will be as tough, presenting differing challenges.

However, Rwanda has made progress in recent years, and under the right coach, they can compete relatively well. Success will depend on factors such as the form of key players, effective tactics, and team cohesion.

To even make the playoffs, Rwanda will need to approach each match with determination and discipline. The boys must secure points against their direct competitors (Benin and Zimbabwe) while aiming for surprise results against Nigeria and South Africa. Home form will be key.

It’s important to remember that football is unpredictable and, upsets can happen. Rwanda’s chances depend on their preparation, team spirit, and the guidance of their coach.

Rwanda should prioritize finding a coach with the right mix of experience, tactical knowledge, leadership, and understanding of Rwandan football culture. While there’s no need to limit the search to European coaches, the focus should be on the best fit for the team’s needs.

With the right coach and commitment from the players, Rwanda can aim for a competitive showing in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers and work towards its long-term football development goals, whether the team qualifies or not.

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