Rwanda women's national football team
|Association||Fédération Rwandaise de Football Association|
|Sub-confederation||CECAFA (East & Central Africa)|
| Rwanda 1–0 Kenya
(Kigali, Rwanda; 16 February 2014)
| Rwanda 1–0 Kenya
(Kigali, Rwanda; 16 February 2014)
The Rwanda women's national football team has to date been schedule to compete in one major tournament, the inaugural Women's Challenge Cup held in Zanzibar in October 2007, but the event was ultimately canceled. They have not played in a single FIFA recognised match and as of 2008, there was no FIFA-recognised senior women's team. Not existing as recently as 2006, in 2009 the Rwanda women's national under-20 team competed in the African Women U-20 World Cup 2010 Qualifying tournament. The development of women's football vital to the development of a national team faces regional African related issues though there are successes, including the creation of the Rwanda Women's Football League, which has attracted players from neighboring Uganda and having the country's first female professional football coach.
Senior national team
As of June 2012[update], Rwanda has yet to play in a single FIFA recognised match. FIFA did not recognise a senior women's national team in the period between 2002 to 2006, with no team existing by 2008. While Rwanda women's national under-20 football team existed and played in matches by 2009, the senior national team was not competing in matches in the period. There was no senior team competing in the 2010 African Women's Championships during the preliminary rounds or the 2011 All Africa Games. In March 2012, the team was not ranked in the world by FIFA and a senior national team still did not exist.
The inaugural Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA) Women's Challenge Cup was supposed to be held in Zanzibar October 2007, an event Rwanda was planning to send a national team to compete in, but the competition was ultimately canceled. The competition was to be funded by Confederation of African Football. The Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations secretary, Nicholas Musonye said of the event, "CAF wants to develop women football in this region in recognition of the milestones CECAFA has achieved over the years. CAF appreciates what CECAFA has done despite the hardships the association has gone through, from financial problems to political instability in member states and poor management of associations. Member states in the CECAFA region have not taken women's football seriously. CAF now wants to sponsor a long-term campaign to attract women from this region into the game." 
Junior national team
In 2006, a Rwanda women's national under-17 football team and Rwanda women's national under-20 football team did not officially exist, but this changed by 2009 when an under-20 team and competed in the African Women U-20 World Cup 2010 Qualifying tournament. In the first leg on 24 October 2009 in Nakivubo, they lost to Uganda 1–2. In the second leg on 7 November 2009 in Kigali, they lost to Uganda 0–1. In Rwanda's 1–2 loss, Saida Ntagisarinana came on in the second half as a substitute for Rwanda and scored the team's only goal. Rwanda's play in the game was described by Ugandan newspaper New Vision as "far more organised [than Uganda], structured and played as a team."
Background and history
The development of women's football in Africa faces several challenges, including limited access to education, poverty amongst women in the wider society, and fundamental inequality present in that society that occasionally allows for female-specific human rights abuses. At the same time, if talented women footballers do emerge, many choose to go abroad to maximize playing opportunities. A lack of funding impedes regional development of women's football as most of the funding for the women's national team comes from FIFA, not the national football association.
Inside Rwanda, the first women's football programme was developed in 2000. "Kicking for Reconciliation" was created during the late 2000s, and involved over 100 young players in an attempt at "bringing healing to a nation that saw the worst genocide since World War II" through sport. The programme was open to both Tutsis and Hutus. By 2008, this included a schools and university competition. Women's football was supported by a single dedicated national federation staffer by 2006. Women's sport, including football, received little press coverage in the Rwandan media. A women's football league was founded in 2008, and the country is the only one in the region with a viable league, but the it still faces challenges related to funding for teams, with most of its funding coming from FIFA. Grace Nyinawumuntu became the first female referee at the senior level in Rwanda in 2004, and went on to become the first woman to coach a professional team in the country in 2009. Her professional women's side went on to win the league championship under her leadership. The lack of high-level football opportunities in Uganda led to some players going from there to Rwanda for opportunities to play in the country's professional league.
International training related to women is limited in Rwanda. Between 1991 and 2010, there was no FIFA FUTURO III regional course for women's coaching, no women's football seminar held in the country, and no FIFA MA course held for women and youth football. Internationally, in 2007, a representative from the country attended a FIFA sponsored women's football symposium in China. Felicite Rwemarika is the head of women's football in the country. She is credited with developing the sport in the country by founding the Association of Kigali Women in Football amongst other things.
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