Rwanda’s Journey in World Cup 2026 Qualifiers: A Work in Progress

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Coach Spittler sees Rwanda as a developing team.
1-0 win over Lesotho keeps Rwanda top of Group C.
Spittler wants improved performance despite victory.
Substitutions due to fatigue and injuries.

Rwanda head coach Torsten Frank Spittler has emphasized that despite their recent 1-0 victory over Lesotho, his team remains a work in progress. The win, secured by a first-half goal from newcomer Jojea Kwizera, allowed Rwanda to retain their top spot in Group C of the ongoing World Cup 2026 Africa qualifiers. However, Spittler highlighted areas for improvement, stressing the need for continued development and refinement.

Tactical Review and Team Performance

Although pleased with the result, Spittler was candid about his dissatisfaction with his team’s performance, particularly in the first half. He noted that while the initial minutes were promising, the team quickly lost composure, leading to several unforced errors.

“I am very happy about the result, but I am not so happy about how we played the match. We started well in the first 10 minutes and, out of no reason, my players played some stupid balls and started panicking and wasted many balls that Lesotho could have capitalized on,” Spittler remarked in the post-match press conference.

The coach attributed these lapses to a lack of focus and poor decision-making, which could have jeopardized their lead. During halftime, Spittler urged his players to shift their strategy from long balls to more controlled play, a move that improved their performance in the second half.

Developmental Focus

Spittler’s comments underscore a broader vision for the team’s development. He believes that while Rwanda has shown promise, there is still significant work to be done to reach the desired level of play.

“We had some chances to score another goal, Lesotho did not have many chances. In the end, we won, it takes time and it is a developing process we are in. I am happy for the three points,” he noted.

Spittler’s perspective is that the team’s journey is ongoing, and maintaining their position at the top of the group is just one step in a longer process. He is focused on building a team that can sustain high performance levels throughout the qualifiers and beyond.

Strategic Substitutions

In addressing his substitution decisions, Spittler explained that fatigue and injuries influenced his choices. Goal scorer Kwizera was substituted due to fatigue after a long journey from the United States, and defender Emmanuel Imanishimwe was taken off following an injury.

“I replaced Jojea because he was looking a bit tired after a long travel from the United States. I brought in Samuel Gueulette who played well against Benin, he is a very promising player that I can use in different positions and he did a good job again,” Spittler explained.

These substitutions highlight Spittler’s tactical flexibility and his readiness to adapt to the immediate needs of the game while keeping an eye on the long-term development of his squad.

Group Standings and Future Prospects

After four match days, Rwanda tops Group C with 7 points, sharing the lead with South Africa and Benin, who trail only on goal difference. Lesotho, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe follow in the standings. Despite this strong position, Spittler remains focused on the road ahead.

Table Standing

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