Rayon Sports are arguably the biggest sports club in Rwanda, boasting fans in all corners of the country and beyond the borders.
As well as a large, committed fan-base, the club enjoys a long and proud history going back several decades, making it one of the most important members of Rwanda’s sporting family, let alone football.
A good number of Rwanda’s football greats and professionals – past and present – have Rayon Sports to thank for successful careers, on the pitch and off it. Indeed, many children across Rwanda grow up aspiring to play for the Blues and to become a fan favourite.
Yet, despite its proud history and position in Rwanda’s football, Rayon Sports are probably one of the sports clubs in the region enduring the most prolonged turbulent periods. Not one or two odd seasons, but repeated cycles of mutual hostilities between two or even more rival groups competing for power and influence.
This has not only certainly affected the football side of things, undermining the club’s potential and ambition, but it has also created endless mass departures of players and rendered Rayon Sports almost ungovernable.
The latest episode of infighting in the Blues camp has attracted the attention of the local governing body, Ferwafa, whose recent decisions have turned out to be unpopular with a section of the fans. Subsequently, some have petitioned the President seeking his intervention.
However, the lasting solution to Rayon’s endless problems lies with Rayon themselves. The leadership and fans of the club. And that solution can only be amicable, conciliatory and permissible under law. Short of this and any ‘solution’ will only create a façade of normalcy before it all falls apart and its back to square one all over again.
To achieve any sensible breakthrough, the club’s leaders and fans will need to sacrifice their own interests for the good of the club, for the wider Rayon Sports family and Rwanda’s football at large.