Rayon coach, stars mourn Mutuyimana

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Rayon Sports Goalie Evariste Mutuyimana passed away yesterday. / Sam Ngendahimana

When he returned home on Monday night, he was in a jolly mood. He chatted with his elder brother and had dinner before retiring to bed.

However, on Tuesday morning, the sports fraternity woke up to the sad news that Rayon Sports goalkeeper Evariste Mutuyimana was dead.

The former national team (Amavubi) player reportedly collapsed at home in Kimisagara yesterday, and died. The 28-year-old also played for Police FC and Kenyan Premier League side, Sofapaka FC. Mutuyimana signed for the Rayon Sports side during the 2016/2017 from Sofapaka. He actively played for Rwanda’s national team Amavubi between 2010-2013.

According to his brother Lewis Ntwali, Mutuyimana was fine when he returned home at 9pm on Monday night, and they talked normally and joked before going to sleep.

“He was fine… he came home at around 9pm, we chatted, had dinner and he slept at around 11:27pm,” in a sombre mood Ntwali recalled.

Ntwali added that on Tuesday morning, Mutuyimana signaled to him with his elbow as if to alert him that something was not fine, and that was the last time he saw him alive.

Mutuyimana was rushed to Kigali Teaching Hospital (CHUK) where he was pronounced dead.

Many have described the late Mutuyimana as a team player who was friendly and hardworking.  

Rayon Sports centre defender, Gabriel Mugabo, who had known the deceased for 4 years, said Mutuyimana’s death was a big shock.

 “We talked on phone last evening (Monday) and he asked about some pictures, he was my friend and we shared a lot….but it is part of life,” Mugabo said.

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Rayon Sports late goalkeeper Evariste Mutuyimana poses with his teammates before the clash against APR FC in the Heroes Day Final at Amahoro Stadium. / Sam Ngendahimana

Rayon Sports head coach Olivier Karekezi also described the deceased as someone who associated well with other players.

“He was jolly, friendly and always promoted harmony among all the players.”

  Karekezi said the club had lost a key player who contributed to the club immensely.

The team skipper Eric ‘Bakame’ Ndayishimiye was short of words and yet to come to terms with the tragedy.

 “It is hard to understand, we trained together, he wrote the last message on the team whatsapp group at 11 pm, he was my friend and we joked together. We will always remember him,” Ndayishimiye said.

Abdul Nzeyimana, a friend and fan of Mutuyimana described the news of his friend’s death as sad and shocking.  Ndayishimiye is Rayayon’s first choice goalkeeper while Mutuyimana was number two.

“He was a friend and a patriotic citizen, we will miss him,” Nzeyimana said.

Mutuyimana picked interest in football at a young age and was later to enjoy a stellar career with the national team (2010-2013), SC Kiyovu (2010-2013), Police FC (2013-2015), and Sofapaka in 2015 before joining Rayon Sports.

Ntwali said that details of burial arrangements for the fallen football star will be announced today (Wednesday) after arrival of the deceased’s mother from Kenya.  

Evaliste Mutuyimana was born on January 20, 1988 in Gikondo, Kigali.  He was the fifth child in a family of six - four boys and two girls. He is survived by one child and by the time of his death he was single.

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