Former Amavubi player Jimmy Mulisa has been named the national team caretaker following the dramatic dismissal of veteran coaches Gilbert Kanyankole Yaounde and Eric Nshimiyimana.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sports and Culture, Lt. Col. Patrice Rugambwa confirmed the development on Tuesday.
“Mulisa is now the interim head coach of the Amavubi team. We failed to reach an agreement with the other two coaches (Kanyankore and Nshimiyimana) on the prospects of handling the team,”
Mulisa is set to start holding training sessions of the senior national team later today when Amavubi kicks off preparations for next month’s Group H Africa Nations’ Cup qualifier against Ghana due on September 3 in Accra.
He said on Wednesday, “It’s an opportunity that I have grabbed with both hands and I will try my best to ensure that we deliver better performances for the national team,”
The 32-year old former Sunrise FC Coach is bullish he can do the job if given the opportunity, owing to his vast experience in the game, more so as a professional player.
“I have been in this game for very long, and I have been a Coach for the past two years, so yes, I can handle Amavubi well,”
“Coaching the national team is a great honor that is every coach’s dream, so if I land it, I would take it with both hands,” The assistant Technical director at FERWAFA added.
Mulisa, who has previously worked under former coach Johnathan McKinstry as an assistant, is one of the most celebrated former footballers in Rwanda, he was among the golden generation that graced the first ever AFCON 2014 in Tunisia.
Mulisa’s major task will be to prepare Amavubi for their game against Ghana in the 2017 AFCON qualifiers on September 3 in Accra.
Against the Group H leaders, Rwanda has only pride to play for having squandered the opportunity to qualify for the 2017 African Cup of Nations finals in Gabon, following shock defeats to Mozambique and Mauritius.
During his professional career, 32-year-old Mulisa played for APR FC between 2002 and 2005 before signing for Belgian second division club RAEC Mons in 2005, where he played for one season, and later joined KRC Mechelen in 2007.
In the 2013/2014 season, Mulisa returned to Belgium second division side A.F.C. Tubize. He later played for T-Team of Venezuela before returning to Rwanda this year.
Meanwhile, former Cranes goalkeeper Ibrahim Mugisha has also been replaced by AS Kigali Thomas Higiro as the goalkeeper’s coach.
On Sunday, Kanyankore who had named a 23-man squad for the September 3 African Cup of Nations qualifier against Ghana, expressed shock at the decision to terminate his services on a day he and Nshimiyimana were expected to sign contracts.
“They have told us that we are no longer Amavubi coaches and we have to respect the decision,” Kanyankore said Tuesday morning.
He added: “The PS (Rugambwa) called us and said we were no longer part of the coaching staff.”
The Amavubi head coach position fell vacant on Thursday last week after Irishman Johnny McKinstry, 30, was sacked after just over a year in charge – despite having extended his contract (until 2018) in May.
Shortly after McKinstry’s sacking, PS Rugambwa confirmed to the media that assistant head coach and former Amavubi forward Jimmy Mulisa would take charge on an interim basis, but later officials announced APR FC head coach Kanyankore as the man to take the job on a temporary basis, with AS Kigali head coach Nshimiyimana and Mulisa deputising him.
Ibrahim Mugisha would retain the position of goalkeeping coach.