Some of the historic team of Rwanda
On December 18th 2014 Rwanda made history when the end of the year FIFA rankings were released with Rwanda placed at 68 in the world!! What a way to end the year ….I can’t thank the players enough for all the hard work, blood sweat and tears they have given to the cause. Honestly I have nothing but admiration for them and they deserve all the credit for this historical achievement. I must also thank the entire coaching staff that I had from the Kit Manager Peter to my assistant coach Vincent Mashame, of course I cannot fail to mention Nuhu and Mousa who made up my medical team as well as Ibrahim Sissoko or Ibby as I call him there work has been outstanding. The unsung hero is a guy called Bonnie Mugabe who is my team manager, what a job he has done and I can’t how much I have appreciated him and the work he has done. No job is too big and he does it with the minimum of fuss and simply gets on with the job, Mr Bonnie Mugabe thank you my man you are the best.
68 in the World & Best Mover of the Year
It has not been an easy time here in Rwanda and there are a great many issues that really need to be sorted out if the meteoric rise is to continue, I won’t go into the details as I don’t believe in airing internal problems, but there are one or two points that must be mentioned. Player’s allowances, and the dire need for the Rwandan National team to have its own kit sponsor are but two issues that for me require immediate attention. FEERWAFA and & the Government need to step up here and do the right thing by the players that is the least that they can do given what the player have done this past year.
Obviously I am absolutely delighted with the progress we have made in this past year and well am very proud that I was able to make history in Rwanda. I have always believed that I can do a job for any team I work for provided I am given a free hand to do the things I feel need to be done. I have worked all my career with limited resources and fully understand the financial constraints that clubs and national associations face. I always feel that if there is good will then good things will happen regardless of the financial situation and people can be very creative when they want to be.
On Saturday 20th of December we played an international friendly using our under 23 side against our neighbours Burundi, who used their senior national side the game ended in a 0-0 draw. Of course I would have liked to have won the game but the purpose was to begin to prepare the U23 or the Olympic team for the qualifiers in April, and this was our first game. We didn’t start particularly well and Burundi controlled things with their experienced players and had a couple of half chances in the first and had a couple of half chances in the first half. We made a couple of changes at half time and within minutes of the second half we had two great chances to score but the Burundi keeper made two back to back outstanding saves to deny us(he was the man of the match). As both teams introduced substitutions we began to have more of the ball and we started to pass the ball around a bit better. When Erneste Sugira hit the underside of the bar with a few minutes to go with a header you got the feeling that it wasn’t going to happen today and perhaps when all is said and done and a 0-0 draw was the right score. Another 3-4 youngsters made thier international debut and I make that around 10 or 11 new players that will go on and serve the national team for several years to come. So this bodes well for Rwandan football and long may that continue.
So as Christmas fast approaches I am heading back to Cyprus to spend some quality time with my family and really looking forward to seeing everyone. It has been 3 months since I last saw my girls and 8 months since I was in my own home !! I would like to thank everyone who I have worked with this past year there are too many of you to mention but everyone at Apollon Smrynis is a must a wonderful example of all that is good in football from fans to clubs officials.
Finally I really need to thank my wife Lucy 20 years and counting she has endured everything from my being away for months on end to looking after our three girlson her own, with all the problems that entails and well she is an absolute diamond thanks Babe………I also want to say a special thank you to my 3 lovely daughters Paula, Christiana, and Isabel who have also had to suffer with not having their Dad around to see them every day , to take them to school and all the mundane things that we take for granted. I am extremely proud to be their father and well enough said.
In closing I would really like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year ..............