Defender Denis Rukundo says it is a dream come true and a great privilege after making his international debut for Rwanda’s Amavubi Stars on Monday evening.
The Police FC defender made his Amavubi Stars debut as a substitute last Friday, but was given his first start in a 5-0 thumping of Central African Republic (CAR) on Monday.
The 24-year-old impressed at right back throughout the game, enjoying a solid debut alongside Christian Ishimwe, Salomon Nirisarike and Thierry Manzi in defence.
One particular highlight was his marauding run down the right flank that set up Martin Fabrice’s first goal of the game.
“It is a privilege to have played for Rwanda,” Rukundo told Football256, adding; “I am very happy and grateful to the coach Vincent Mashami for trusting me.”
“As soon as I was told I was starting, I felt amazing and proud. I was buzzing pulling on the national shirt. The whole experience was unbelievable. I hope it’s the first of many more,” he stated.
The defender has struggled for consistency since breaking out at KCCA in 2017, but his form this season has earned him his first national call up.
Rukundo who has also played in Rwanda for APR and Kiyovu Sports between 2017 and 2019 has previously turned down a chance to represent Rwanda as he held out for a chance to represent the Cranes.
He switched his allegiance from Uganda, considering Rwanda’s invitation for the June international friendlies as he has been constantly overlooked for Cranes selection.
Rukundo was able to represent both Rwanda and Uganda given that he was born in Uganda while he as his roots from Rwanda with his father born in Uganda’s South Western neighbour.
He has been one of the prominent performers for Police FC as they have climbed from relegation strugglers to into sixth position in the Uganda Premier League and also reach the semi-finals of the Stanbic Uganda Cup.
Rukundo will hope that his performance in both friendlies have proved to Mashami the quality and ability he can offer the Amavubi Stars ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
The Amavubi Stars are drawn in Group E along with Mali and regional neighbours Uganda and Kenya.
Mashami’s side get their quest for a maiden appearance at the World Cup in September against Mali before hosting Kenya and Uganda in the next two fixtures, respectively.