FOOTBALLERS Meddie Kagere (Gor Mahia, Kenya) Hussein Cyiza (Mukura), Jimmy Mashingirwa ‘Mbaraga’ Kibengo (AS Kigali), Andre Fils Lomami (Kiyovu) and Peter ‘Kagabo’ Otema (Musanze) yesterday completed their naturalisation process.
The footballers were among 12 people who were sworn in as newly naturalised Rwandans by officials from the Directorate of Immigration and Emigration at the City Hall, Kigali yesterday.
Rayon Sports’ fitness coach Lomami Marcel, who has previously played for a number of local clubs like Kiyovu, Rayon Sports and the now-defunct Atraco and, was also among those who acquired the Rwandan citizenship.
Gor Mahia striker Meddie Kagere was not present at the ceremony yesterday due to a delayed flight but is expected to get his Rwandan documentation on Wednesday, officials said.
“It is of great value to acquire Rwandan nationality. I have wanted it for a long time and now I am happy to get it and I hope to play for the national team,” Otema said after the ceremony.
Some of these football players have previously featured for the national team, Amavubi, but they were pushed out a few years ago after it emerged that some of naturalized players had not acquired Rwandan citizenship legally.
Over sixty players were affected by the decision.
The decision came after Rwanda was disqualified from the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers for using a player with double identity –striker Dady Birori, who also holds Congolese passport under the name Agiti Tady Etakiama.