The 2011/12 Primus National Football League is a tight, thrilling and exciting season which could be decided on the last day of the season, contrary to what has been the case in the last 17 seasons.
As a matter of fact, Mukura, Police, APR, Rayon Sports, SC Kiyovu and Isonga are all predicted to fight all the way until the end with any of them likely to take it home.
When the season started, we all knew defending champions APR would have another easy ride but with 17 matches played so far, the military side find themselves in third position, trailing leaders Police by four points while Mukura is in second place, a point behind the law enforcers.
Mukura has been on and off the top spot several times ever since the season started in September last year.
Mukura whoh have never won the league title since it was founded in 1963, have caught everyone’s attention, hence my desire to find out what drives them.
Times Sports contacted the Executive Secretary of Huye District, Veduste Nshimiyimana, who also doubles as Mukura’s vice president in charge of finance.
According to Nshimiyimana, Huye District has been sponsoring the club since 2006. From 2009, they doubled their monthly subsidy to the club to help them raise their football standards.
In 2009, the district gave the club Rwf 1.5 million every month to meet players’ salaries and from 2011, they increased the subsidy to Rwf. 4 million per month.
Apart from the salaries, the district gives allowances and kits to the club to help them perform better in the league.
However, Huye district has done something special this year to inspire Mukura to win their first major silverware at the end of this season.
Mukura have own residence at Itaba in Huye. They have two houses which are self-contained, and complete with DSTV, and a restaurant.
“We demand success from the players but first we must give them the best support we possibly can. We believe, once we have catered for the players’ essential needs such as rent, feeding and salaries, then players can do their best too,” said Nshimiyimana.
Nshimiyimana added that the players are well monitored and given medical attention by experienced doctors.
Apart from the basics, Nshimiyimana is also grateful to Volcano Bus Services which offered the club a bus to transport players to every location for their league matches.
The company is owned by the club’s president Olivier Nizeyimana, who happens to be an ardent Barcelona fan too.
The Huye District Mayor Eugene Muzuka Kayiranga, who is the club’s honorary president, also meets the club administrators and players on a weekly basis to assess the team’s progress.
Mukura, who have committed fans in Nyaruguru, Gisagara, Huye, Kigali, USA, Canada and Belgium have set their target to win this season’s league title.
One of the fans who have followed the club since his childhood, Jean de Dieu Rwigamba, has been unleashing cash bonuses for every league victory to the tune of Rwf. 200,000 as away of motivating the players.
“I will always do my best to help these players realise their dream of winning the league this season,” added Rwigamba who is proprietor of Eco-Queen Construction Company.
One of the plans Mukura has is to open a football academy before the end of this year such that they can have a player-base for the senior team. Mukura will soon be boasted with an artificial modern stadium to host their matches, a feat which will also add something on their revenues.
Their Rwf. 3 billion stadium has had its turf laid and construction works, which will take up to 12 months from today, will be aimed at raising the stands and other necessities needed for a modern stadium.
Though Mukura have not won any league trophy, they have at least bagged four local Cups, commonly known as Peace Cups or Amahoro Cup. The trophies were won in 1978, 1986, 1990 and 1992 respectively.
They have represented Rwanda in CAF Confederation Cup with the latest being in 2000 were they never managed to go past first round.
In 2001, Mukura suffered a preliminary round exit in CAF Cup winners’ cup after making five appearances.
Apart from the big plans they have, this year, Mukura have managed to produce notable players like Olivier Bahati, Meme Tchite, Arafat Serugendo, Canisius Nshimiyimana, Meddie Kagere and Fils Muvunyi to mention but a few.
The club has had different presidents, who have played a big role in its league performances.
The notable presidents who have guided Mukura to different milestones include; MP Jean Damascene Gasarabwe, Fidele Gakuba, Abraham Nayandi and Nizeyimana, the current boss.
All these have remained ardent fans of the club as well as the Executive Secretary of the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG), Jean de Dieu Mucyo and Rodrique Mburunumwe Mazuru.
Currently, Mukura is gunning for the league title and, with seven matches remaining, the Southern Province giants may surprise many to lift this season’s league title.
If the league title doesn’t go to Huye, Mukura have their mind set fixed on other targets like the MTN Peace Cup. They will face AS Kigali in the quarter finals.