Author: Hamza Nkuutu
Go there with the right attitude, and we are ready to surprises the world, but take there a wrong mind-set and we get ready to be spanked. I fear to say this.
That is why Richard Tardy needs to prepare his boys so that they go into next month’s Fifa U-17 World Cup in Mexico without any inferiority complex.
The Junior Wasps are going into the unknown territory and so the pressure of playing at the biggest stage for the first time in the players’ young careers will be immerse, and it could be too much to handle if they aren’t well prepared, not only physically but most importantly, mentally.
Playing against England, Canada and Uruguay in the same group didn’t make matters any better for debutant Rwanda, though, at least on paper, fans remain optimistic about the team’s chances, especially against the ‘mighty’ England in the first opening game.
Some fans, especially the more realistic one are already more than happy with the where the team has reached even before a ball is kicked in anger in Mexico, and there are those that do believe the team can actually take the World Cup by storm.
By qualifying for the World Cup, Rwanda’s Junior Wasps have already surpassed everyone’s wildest imagination, so to the more realistic fans, win or lose, the boys are winners.
But that can not be used as an excuse for not going for the kill when the tournament kicks off on June 28, since no team will be going to Mexico for a holiday, and that includes ours, which will definitely be the overwhelming underdogs in their group.
When the draws were made, fans and most casual observers in Kigali immediately singled out England as the likely beatable team for Rwanda, and this made me wonder from where on earth they get this assumption.
One casual observer noted that because England are perpetual underachievers at major tournaments, it makes them the most venerable to defeat [at the hands of Rwanda] in group C. But I disagreed with him and many others with that observation.
I hope Tardy doesn’t share those sentiments, and being an experienced professional, I don’t think he can afford to miscalculate against any team in the group because it can lead to our boys getting a rude awakening-our attitude must be top notch if we’re going to match the our opponents.
We may not be in the ‘group of death’ but still we are in a tough one, which I think we’ll be fortunate to get out.
I think Burkina Faso, who beat Rwanda to the African title, have the easiest group [along with Germany, Panama and Ecuador], at least on paper, while Ivory Coast and Congo are in what I would call the two ‘groups of death’.
Congo are in the same group [A] as South Korea, the Netherlands and the hosts, Mexico while Ivory Coast were grouped together with Brazil, Australia and Denmark in group F.
In football, or sports in general, you can only beat what is in front of you, so the Junior Wasps need not to feel sorry for themselves, and they must approach the tournament with the right attitude or else it would be a shame to go to Mexico just to make numbers.
It’s true that Rwanda has made history to become the first country from East and Central African region to play at the Fifa World Cup, but it would also be befitting for the team to go out there and give a very good account of itself, which I believe they can if they attitude is right.
After all, at this level, there is no big difference amongst all teams-anyone can beat anyone, unlike at the senior World Cup, where the difference between the good and bad teams is so huge. Keep the faith.