Karekezi hangs up his boots

A knee injury has forced former Amavubi Stars captain Olivier Karekezi into retirement, ending a 13-year football career of arguably Rwanda’s most talented player ever.
Olivier Karekezi as part of the Amavubi team that featured in 2004 Nations Cup finals. Sunday Sport/Timothy Kisambira
Olivier Karekezi as part of the Amavubi team that featured in 2004 Nations Cup finals. Sunday Sport/Timothy Kisambira

Scored a record 25 goals in 53 appearances for Amavubi
He still had eight months left on his contract
Was part of the Amavubi team at CAN 2004 finals

A knee injury has forced former Amavubi Stars captain Olivier Karekezi into retirement, ending a 13-year football career of arguably Rwanda’s most talented player ever.

The 30-year-old injured his left knee during a Tunisian league match between his team, CA Bizertin and Club Sfaxien, last month. He still had eight months left of his contract.

Karekezi, who scored a record 25 goals in 53 appearances for Amavubi, quit international football three months ago and was intending to call time on his playing career at the end of the current season. A serious knee injury has forced him bring forward his retirement plans.

“I am finally hanging up my boots for good! Playing football is all I have ever wanted to do and I think I have achieved all I ever wanted in my career,” he said.

“I have decided that it is time for me to leave football, I have quit for good and I think I have been doing well but after this injury, I am not able to continue playing,” Karekezi acknowledged on Friday.

Karekezi made his debut for Amavubi in 2000 during the 2-all clash against Cote d’Ivoire in the qualifiers of the 2002 Fifa World Cup.

The former APR striker scored his first international goal against Somalia during the Cecafa Challenge Cup in a 3-0 win for Amavubi Stars. 

Karekezi joined CA Bizertin last year after a successful second stint with APR. He left after helping the army side to a record extending 13th national football league title as well as the MTN Peace Cup, having scored 14 goals. 

His career started with APR way back in 2000 before he left to join Sweden’s top division club Helsingborgs IF in 2005.

He scored five goals in 18 matches during the 2005 season. In 2006, he scored 11 goals for Helsingborg, becoming the top scorer in Allsvenskan.

In January 2008, the APR youth team product moved to Norwegian side, Hamarkameratene. In March 2010, he returned to Sweden and played for second division club Östers IF for two years before returning home for one season.

He was part of the Amavubi team that featured in 2004 Nations Cup finals.

 

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