RWANDAFootball Federation (Ferwafa) presidential candidate Louis Rurangirwa has vowed to dignify Rwandan football legends if he is elected in the upcoming polls scheduled for March 31.
The former Rwanda international referee outlined his agenda and priorities in an exclusive interview with Times Sport on Wednesday.
Rurangirwa is in a two-horse race against retired Brigadier General Jean Damascene Sekamana. The later represents Intare FC while Rurangirwa’s candidature has been endorsed by the Rwanda Referees Association – ARAF.
With barely three days to the polls, Rurangirwa says his leadership will fix “what the outgoing committee (led by Vincent Nzamwita) damaged.”
“A lot has gone wrong with Ferwafa and Rwandan football in the past four years; it is time for real change. My main goal is to restructure how football is run in the country and earn back the trust of members and most importantly, the trust of Rwandans,” Rurangirwa stated.
Rurangirwa, who also previously served in the Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF), retiring at the rank of corporal, vows to put former Rwanda international footballers at the heart of his development agenda starting from the grassroots level.
“With a clear framework, our legends would be very helpful in sustainable and result-oriented football development programs. Unfortunately, they have been neglected for so long, and at times are even denied access to stadium to watch local football matches. This must end,” Rurangirwa told this paper.
He added; “Legends have served the country and are richly knowledgeable about football, they are going to be a strong asset in overhauling the Rwandan football when I am elected.”
Apart from working with legends to take local football (leagues and national teams) to new heights, Rurangirwa also plans to invest in transparency.
“Without transparency and accountability, both to Ferwafa members and partners, everything will remain but an empty promise. They are two key pillars in my leadership,” he noted.
Rurangira says disagrees with those says that Ferwafa does not have enough means to build winning natonal teams at all levels.
“As a former international referee, I have been in football for a quite a while and I know Ferwafa is not poor to give results we all want. It is just poorly managed,” he underlined.
He also looks forward to working with all league sides to get sponsors and enjoy shared opportunities equitably. Rurangirwa adds that he will encourage all topflight league teams to have junior teams and the federation under his leadership, will revive the junior league.
FERWAFA presidential elections were initially supposed to take place on September 30, 2017 but were put on hold a week earlier after FIFA instructed the federation to review claimed irregularities and the electoral code which had been violated in the process.
In the September elections, Rurangirwa expressed his interest in leading Ferwafa and submitted his application for the position but it was rejected on grounds that he had not met the criteria.
The polls were held on December 30 at Lemigo Hotel but sole candidate Félicité Rwemalika failed to garner the minimum votes which would have made her the first woman to lead the local football governing body.