*FA backs down on Habiyakare
*Rayon officials back in office
Local footballers’ body, Ferwafa has reversed the ban imposed on Rayon Sports first vice president Saidi Habiyakare while the club’s executive committee members who had resigned, have made a u-turn.
The decision to annul the indefinite ban that had been imposed on the official was reached at following a marathon emergency meeting between Ferwafa, the sports ministry, Rayon Sports and other stakeholders who matter in Rwanda football held on Monday.
"There was what I would call a forum between Ferwafa, the ministry of sports, Rayon officials and some individuals to clear the bad air that had been going on for some days," Ferwafa Secretary General Jules Kalisa confirmed.
He added, "It was in that meeting that we decided to overturn the ban on Habiyakare for the good of football in the country".
Asked the basis for banning a club official under unclear circumstances, Kalisa was not forthcoming with his response but what he emphasized was that the federation has the right to punish or ban for that matter anyone whenever it necessitates.
Habiyakare had been banned until further notice on grounds that he was the main causer all the mess that surrounded the club’s shameful trip to Khartoum for a Caf Confederations Cup fixture against El Merreikh.
While confirming the ban late week, Kalisa said, "Habiyakare is the trouble causer for all the messes and for that, Ferwafa has stopped him carrying out any club duties indefinitely".
Who’s to blame for the mess?
Neither Ferwafa nor the Sports Ministry accept to carry the blame but Habiyakare said that he was not surprised by the fact that his ban was overturned because it had no basis. But asked who he thinks should be blamed for the mess that threatened to change people’s perspective on how football in Rwanda is governed, he said, "Maybe the people who had banned me and later changed their mind, should carry the blame".
"By taking the blame away from Rayon Sport it shows that they (Ferwafa and the Sports Ministry) have taken the blame to their side," Habiyakare said.
However, when this question was put to Kalisa, he said, "In that meeting, we never discussed anything to do with who should be blamed and who shouldn’t".
Speaking on behalf of Ferwafa, Kalisa doesn’t want to see anyone blamed for what happened but he regrets it and believes it should never be allowed to happen again.
"If this meeting has taken place earlier, the ban wouldn’t be issued in the first place. Football in this country is not for Ferwafa or Rayon, it’s for all Rwandans and what was discussed (in the meeting) was aimed at bringing us together once again for the benefit of all Rwandans," he acknowledged.
Meanwhile, Rayon Sports executive committee that had earlier resigned has changed their heart and agreed to return to office.
Paul Muvunyi who had led his team out of the club official affairs confirmed the change of heart, which came after that emergency meeting with the people who had made them to quit.
"We had several reasons that led to our resignation and they were rectified, that is why we agreed to reverse our decision," Muvunyi told Times Sport by telephone yesterday.
According to Muvunyi, they resigned after receiving reports that his first vice president (Habiyakare) would be banned.
So Muvunyi and co. used the resignation a threat tool to make Ferwafa change their decision and it indeed worked its magic.
In the words of Muvunyi, there were other ‘minor’ issues like backing Rayon in local, regional and continental championships, which forced them to resign and were also discussed in the meeting.
According to him (Muvunyi), Ferwafa and the sports ministry have not been supportive to Rayon, financially or technically like other clubs taking part in regional or continental championships.
For starters, Rayon Sport committee resigned last week after their club’s trip to Sudan in the first leg of the African Confederation Cup where they lost 3-0 to El Merreikh.
By then, Muvunyi refused to give reason for their action but in a space of four days ago, what seemed to be a threat, became an actual act when the local businessman sounded resigning after spending over Frw15 millions in the team’s trip.
In that story, the soft spoken local businessman said, "We spent over Frw15 millions towards the team’s trip to Sudan and in my opinion things are not supposed to be like that".
"It’s so disappointing from our (Rayon) point of view to see that, no one came up to support us during that challenging time," Muvunyi complained.
The threat to throw in the towel stemmed from what Muvunyi described as failure by the Ministry of sports and Ferwafa to his help his team like it’s supposed to be the case for all teams representing the country.