Editorial: Time for Rwandan sportsmen to overcome patriotic pressure

The 9th edition of the Tour du Rwanda is on. For the next eight days, riders will undertake a grueling 800 kilometre-plus road show. They will be challenging the enormous climbs amid one of the most amazing views of hills, mountains and lakes.

Over the years, the race has gained popularity both within Rwanda and beyond, but to Rwandans, it is the new darling sports where local sportsmen have shown their prowess and have slowly put Rwanda on the cycling map.

Many sports federations would do well to emulate Rwanda Cycling federation (FERWACY), the secret behind the success. It has built together a solid and dedicated team that has turned the annual race into the main sporting attraction of the year.

The most popular sport, football, has not had any reasons to write home about despite getting the lion’s share of the sports budget. Lesser funded disciplines such as volleyball, basketball, and to a lesser extent; athletics, have fared better.

This should send a strong message to the sports ministry that maybe it is time to rethink its strategy and carefully choose its strategies.

As the Tour du Rwanda is underway, our football team will also be facing the ultimate test; whether it will live to the challenging of defending its large goal advantage for a slot in the CHAN finals against Ethiopia.

Whatever the outcome will be in both competitions, it is important for the teams to keep their heads held high. They will be carrying the hopes of their nation on their shoulders and nothing but the best is expected of them. They should be ready to face and overcome the pressure that comes with such heavy responsibilities.