Former Kigali Volleyball Club, APR and national team captain Jean Luc Ndayikengurukiye is true reflection of a living legend in Rwandan volleyball as he continues to contribute to its development in one way or another.
The 38-year old, who is currently the head coach of Rwanda Revenue Authority women volleyball club, was born to Athanase Nsabampama and Casienne Ndayirukiye on February 19, 1976 in Bujumbura, Burundi.
He is the second born in a family of three boys. Their mother, Ndayirukiye passed away in 1995. Ndayikengurukiye is married but has no child yet.
Ndayikengurukiye attended Ecole primaire Ngagara and went to Don Bosco Ngozi, both in Bujumbura for his Ordinary level studies.
After the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi, his family returned from exile and he resumed his studies with Advanced level at APE Rugunga from where he earned a secondary school leavers’ certificate in Accounting in 1998.
In 2005, the former APE Rugunga student and player furthered his studies at the Kigali Independent University (ULK) and graduated in 2009 with a Bachelors degree in Management.
Ndayikengurukiye says Kigali Volleyball Club (KVC) legend Theophile Minani is the source of inspiration, “Minani made me everything I was as a volleyball player, he taught me how to play right from the start and his advice whenever I needed it, helped me a lot in my career up to now.”
Ndayikengurukiye love for volleyball can be traced from his childhood days. Volleyball was his first love although he played a bit of football like the other children in his neighborhood because football was the most popular sport.
The former Don Bosco Ngozi student never won any notable silverware with any of his former schools’ teams but was always the driving force and most of the time their captain.
“Unfortunately, I never won any big title with my schools’ teams but I always maximally contributed my part as a player,” he told Saturday Sport in an interview.
In 1995, the then 19-year-old Ndayikengurukiye joined Kigali volleyball club (KVC), the team that was spearheaded by some of the club’s greats namely; Theophile Minani, Emmanuel Bugoragoza, Canisius Isibo and Jean de Dieu Masumbuku.
“I was warmly welcomed, which helped me to learn quickly from the best players. I developed fast but we didn’t win the league title in my first three years,” he recalls.
In those three years, the league was won by the outstanding University of Rwanda- Huye campus (former National University of Rwanda, NUR).
It was not until 1998, that Ndayikengurukiye and KVC swept everything before them on the local scene, including the league, Coupe du Rwanda, Carres d’As and the 1994 genocide against Tutsi memorial international tournament.
“1998 was the most successful season for the club and especially for me, as it was my first time to win any major silverware in my career.
But what made me even happier was beating Kampala volleyball club (KVC) in four sets (3-1) to win the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi memorial international tournament,” Ndayikengurukiye says.
Following his outstanding role in the 1998 season, Ndayikengurukiye was named captain of the Kigali-based club in 1999 and led them to the league title in same year and the next to make it three league titles in a row.
NUR took back the reign for 2001 and 2002 before KVC still captained by Ndayikengurukiye reclaimed it in 2003- his last league title at KVC.
Two years later, the towering right attacker, signed for rivals APR and right away he took over the club’s captaincy to lead the military side to their first ever league title in 2005 and again in 2007 as a player before winning as APR coach in 2008.
Ndayikengurukiye was first called in the national team in 1998 and went on to be a key player of the team up to 2008 when he retired from playing. He was team captain when Rwanda won the FIVB Africa Zone V title in 2002.
The former KVC captain started coaching in 2008 as a coach/player at APR and he won that season’s league title and was named head coach full time. He also led the military club to retain the league title in 2009 before NUR wrestled it away from them in 2010.
In late September 2009, Ndayikengururiye parted ways with APR and a few months later he was appointed coach of the Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) women’s club and led the then new club to finish as first runners-up of the 2010 league, which was won by APR.
One year later, he helped RRA to win almost all titles of the locally organised tournaments including the league title, Ccoupe du Rwanda and Aarres d’As.
But the last two seasons have not been as successful for Ndayikengurukiye and his team, who have played second fiddle to the rampant APR.
Although he holds a level II coaching certificate, Ndayikengurukiye says he still has a long way to go, “I am always aiming at improving season to season and after two years without the league title, I want to win it more than anything else in the forthcoming season.”Follow https://twitter.com/bishumba