Commentary: Is too much money being spent on youth development?

In my pick for today, I’ll give the European leagues a break and concentrate on something more important – Rwandan football.
Ivan R. Mugisha
Ivan R. Mugisha

In my pick for today, I’ll give the European leagues a break and concentrate on something more important – Rwandan football.

Yes, a lot has been said about Rwandan football. It is boring, it is underdeveloped, blah blah; we have heard it all. For me, the only problem I have with it is; where the hell can I get my personal season fixture timetable?

My colleague Bonnie Mugabe wrote an interesting article last week titled “Is it logical to spend Rwf54 million on sending three players to Spain?”

The three players, who are to benefit from that money, are right-back Yves Rwigema, midfielder Anderson Neza and striker Fiston Nkizingabo who will be based in Valencia for one year.

Initially, I was like “What? That’s a whole lot of money!” but when I read his piece and found out what these three players were going to do in Spain, I sighed with relief. I mean, they are not going to beauty spars – they are going for an education in football.

Asking whether the amount spent is too much is like asking whether the engineers and doctors on government sponsorship in America and Europe are wasting taxpayers’ money.

As a matter of fact, I consider this action as a statement of intent. For long, we writers have had our rounds against FERWAFA, opposing their every move and asking questions about what the role of Ministry of Sports is.

Some writers, like me, and radio hosts, still ask those questions, especially the last one – but I can say with some optimism that it has been answered, at least by 20 percent.

Investing an amount as large as Rwf54 million on the development of three young footballers, depicts government’s seriousness at ensuring that we get quality footballers that can thickly improve our recently very weak Amavubi side.

Every time a FIFA ranking is announced, we are at least a position below. I mean, who isn’t tired of watching Amavubi being walloped every time? We are supposed to be the best soccer nation in East Africa and yet, even Burundi beats us.

Youth development is a topic fond of coming up every time we get a bad results. It is actually, probably, one of the reasons why Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojovic was given the boot early this year.

Most importantly, we must appreciate that youth development isn’t a cheap venture. That is why I wouldn’t think it highly if Rwanda opted for Uganda’s Proline Soccer Academy or South Africa’s Diambars Football Academy.

Royal European Football Academy in Valencia, Spain, is crème de la crème. Teenagers don’t just kick balls but learn a whole lot of disciplines – all relevant in their sports development.

Besides that, the training centre certifies all of its courses in partnership with the most prestigious universities, which means that when a graduate fails to make it in the football world, he has alternative skills.

That’s why I take this news positively.  If all goes to plan, these three players are only the start of a long and success story in Rwanda’s football.

@RushAfrican on Twitter


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