A point to prove with homegrown talent

Very few clubs among the 14 in the Turbo King Football League, boast of a squad that is one hundred percent Rwandan, home-born footballers--one of them being AS Kigali.
Ivan R. Mugisha
Ivan R. Mugisha

Very few clubs among the 14 in the Turbo King Football League, boast of a squad that is one hundred percent Rwandan, home-born footballers--one of them being AS Kigali.

It is also befitting that this same club, sits comfortably at the summit of the league after six games, with five wins and a loss.

It is not APR like we have once too often been accustomed to nor is it Rayon Sport the re- emerging powerhouse of Rwandan football, but, none other than lowly AS Kigali.

Whereas several clubs scouted for far and near talent, AS Kigali decided to keep it local. Whether this was a gamble or not, it seems to be paying off. Heavyweights APR and Police are the other clubs using only Rwandan players.

Over the two seasons, AS Kigali has transformed from amid table team at best, into a title contender. 

Having won the Peace Cup last season and the inaugural Super Cup after beating league champions Rayon Sports, the City of Kigali team have started the season like a side on a mission for something bigger.

They have swept opponents including a famous win against APR, and have an impressive defense that has leaked only two goals in six games. Actually they have kept five clean sheets.

The City of Kigali sponsored outfit was never on the list of bookmarkers as a favourite this season, but they are slowly turning into a surprise package.

A water-tight defense has enabled AS Kigali to go on and win most of their games by a single goal margin, capitalised by young strikers Amin Mwizerwa and Jimmy Mbaraga.

Coach Andrew Gasambungo seems to have got it right. Much as their style of play isn’t the most impressive, AS Kigali has mastered the art of benefiting from mistakes made by their opponents and hitting them on the counter attack.

The Green and Yellow side are, therefore, perhaps setting themselves as a hub for homegrown talent. Their impressive games so far have proved that Rwanda indeed does have talent, and this is paving way for a brighter Amavubi side.

The issue of homegrown talent is hotly debated world over. In England, where the Barclays Premier League is coveted by millions of people around the world, debate is mainly about why the English national side is not as flourishing as their league.

The argument is that English leading clubs like Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal employ too many foreigners to the detriment of English players.

In the end, when England participates in huge tournaments like the World Cup and Euro, they are clobbered by countries like Italy, German and Spain, which unlike England, have a reputation of producing world class players.

This is however not very conclusive. Foreign players in a league bring about dynamism in a club and truthfully speaking, some of them are miles better than local talents.

Nevertheless, it’s always a breath of fresh air whenever one or two clubs decide to adopt their own culture. For AS Kigali, it’s a matter of national pride. This club has brought in a whole new perspective – it is possible to use only local talent and compete for the title.

@RushAfrican on twitter

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