The evening of Wednesday, 20th January 2016 will remain a historic moment for Rwandan football.
On the day, Amavubi Stars easily outwitted West African opposition, Gabon 2-0 to progress to the 2016 African Nations Championships quarter finals.
By so doing, Rwanda made history by becoming the first country to make the last eight stage at the biennial tourney that is only played for by home based players in the domestic leagues.
The history breaking Rwanda thus became the first CECAFA member nation to qualify for the quarter-finals since the CHAN inception in 2009.
Kudos to the Rwandese football federation and the central Government for the effortless investments that have seen the nation achieve big. The Rwandese brand of football at the CHAN 2016 tournament seems as though to have been kitted in Heaven and packaged on the Mars planet.
They have been flowing, defending and attacking in numbers. Rwanda has surprised everybody including themselves and the thousands of fans who throng the stadium as well as those who cheer on distantly.
The team’s head coach, Jonathan McKinstry has on countless times praised the team spirit of the players and 12th man in the terraces. The Northern Irishman has a philosophy of approaching one game at a time as he critically assesses the opponents and it has indeed yielded dividends.
Rwanda is a team on mission. Of course, with exceptional characters in the mold of stylish midfielder Yannick Mukunzi, team skipper Jacques Tuyisenge and the famous ‘brilliance Individual’ two goal hero against Gabon, Ernest Sugira. Captain, Tuyisenge has special words to the fans and the two special performance analysts that McKinstry hired from Ireland.
Tuyisenge believes the fans have played a special role to inspire the team, but in equal measure lauds the coaching staff and the two team analysts who have helped them.
Should the trend continue, who knows Rwanda can beat the Quarter final hurdle to the last four all the way to the finals. Time can only tell for now.