Should foreigners be allowed to represent Rwanda on national teams?

It’s degrading From what I hear, Rwanda’s national sports teams have been infiltrated by an influx of foreigners; they are so many that  it would close to impossible for a neutral to tell which country is playing whenever Rwanda is out on the field.
Ivan R.  Mugisha
Ivan R.  Mugisha

It’s degrading

From what I hear, Rwanda’s national sports teams have been infiltrated by an influx of foreigners; they are so many that  it would close to impossible for a neutral to tell which country is playing whenever Rwanda is out on the field.

I used to love basketball while in high school - even flattered myself with ideas of playing in the NBA. Short-lived as my dream was, I had a stint on the bench for my high school teams, my highest point being the time I made a last gasp three pointer for my house during the finals on sports day.

I have loved sports all my life and am filled with joy when I see a Rwandan break into the spotlight for displaying exceptional talent. Sports in other countries are the natural alternative for young people who didn’t get the chance to go to school- and I wonder why this is an exception in Rwanda.

Unfortunately sports development has to me been the most under looked aspect in Rwanda, no wonder we keep underperforming in almost each international competition.

Sadly, it looks like the country has conceded defeat, given up and left the sector to foreigners. Instead of nurturing Rwandan coaches, the head coach of Amavubi is a foreigner; instead of nurturing young people who are interested to play, we hire foreigners to do it for us. Where is the pride in this?

We have no option but to watch in misery because the journey the nation has decided to take is completely an oblivious one.

They say that these foreigners on national teams are ‘naturalized citizens’. That in fact, they hold Rwandan passports and indagamuntu. But the real question is - to whose benefit are these people given citizenship?

Instead of true Rwandans benefiting, it’s Congolese, Americans, Ugandans and whichever foreigner has the ability to kick or throw a ball.

By doing so, all we are saying is that Rwanda is talentless, and that it is so easy to become a citizen.

Poor kids in the village who play ‘banana fiber football’ are the ones affected the most because their talent is ignored.

For example, why isn’t there a Vision2020 for sports like there is for other government strategies? Rather than sit in their offices and wait for a fat salary, why don’t the sports authorities take an initiative to improve our sports even by one percent?

Sports, like business, is a product; and only till it’s localised will Rwandans be more than proud to buy tickets to every national game.

Until things change, Rwandans, me inclusive, are more than justified to follow and even waste money watching other countries’ sports teams.

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