Rwanda’s hosting of the 2016 Africa Nations Championship (Chan) has once again demonstrated to us that you do not need to be a rich country to host a major football tournament.
All it takes is political will. The Rwandan government invested $21 million into the renovations of facilities such as training grounds and four Stadiums; Amahoro National Stadium, Kigali Regional Stadium, Huye Stadium in Butare (Southern Province) and Umugunda Stadium in the Western Province, Gisenyi.
Theirs are not mega stadiums like the Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe or Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre. The stadia in Rwanda are very modest, but decent enough to host a tournament.
Rwanda aka Amavubi are now an emerging football powerhouse and have climbed on Fifa rankings to position 91. They have already qualified for the quarter-finals in this tournament. Now, that is a proper definition of development in football. Not long ago, Malawi used to beat Rwanda ,but we are no longer at the same level. That is what I call stagnation in football development. Borrow a leaf from the Rwandans!
The match of the week is on Sunday between Arsenal and Chelsea. Arsenal has a poor record against Chelsea and the Gunners were beaten 2-0 in the first round and played a stalemate against Stoke City last week. Chelsea are not faring well at the moment, but could damage Arsenal’s title hopes if taken lightly.
Chelsea need to get rid of their defence which continues to embarrass Roman Abramovic’s fortune invested in the team. Why John Terry and Ivanovic continue to be part of that starting line-up baffles logic. They escaped defeat last week against Everton through a fortuitous offside goal by Terry in a 3-3 thriller. The goal apparently made Terry the highest scoring defender in the English Premier League with 40 to his name.
Chelsea are now in danger of losing Champions League finish and that could spell doom for the team as their stars could flock out for lack of Champions League games, a holy grail for most elite players. I have a feeling Chelsea will win this match.
Joint leaders Leicester City also have a tricky fixture against Stoke City. Leicester rested most of their players in the FA replay against Tottenham on Wednesday which they lost 2-0. It was clever of Claudio Ranieri as he does not have depth to be in too many competitions. I suspect Leicester will beat Stoke today and go two points clear of Arsenal.
West Ham against Man City is another interesting match today. West Ham won the first-round encounter 2-1 and could repeat that feat today. Their talisman Dimitri Payet is back and is already rewarding Slaven Bilic with spectacular goals and defence splitting passes. Although City were in menacing mood last week when they trounced Crystal Palace 4-0, they have been inconsistent this season, so anything could happen in this match.