Striker Jimmy Gatete has promised to reward his loyal fans’ faith in him with a bright comeback in the next season’s national football league.
The Rwandan international signed for Rayon Sport this week on Tuesday just over a month or so after being released by APR Fc.
Gatete, 25 signed a two-year deal that would keep him at Rayon until the end of the 2008/09 season.
The striker returns to the club where he made his major break through into Rwandan football during a three-year spell between 1996 and 1998 having started off at Mukura during the 1995 season from Burundi.
In an exclusive interview with Times Sport even before the ink dries on his contract documents, Gatete expressed his eagerness to make his critics eat their words.
He confirmed, “I have joined Rayon Sport and I am looking forward to doing my best during my time with them. I believe I can rediscover my best form after the low times I went through in my final year or two at APR”.
“I want to do the best I can to repay the club for the faith entrusted in me and also my fans should expect a new and different Gatete of next season as compared to last year’s,” he added.
With the Caf Confederations, the national league and the Amahoro Cup, Rayon will be in for a busier season than it has been in the last two years but Gatete believes he still has the energy to cope with such demands.
“I know we shall a busy season but that shouldn’t be a big problem for us. When you’re a footballer, these are the kind of situation you want to be involved in, to play as many games as possible”.
The once, most feared striker in the country, the former Mukura star revealed how he had to take a brave decision when it came to choosing between Rayon and Atraco, both of whom were on his trail on learning that he was there to take (on a free) after he had been released by APR.
The reigning league champions shocked many by their audacious decision to release more than half the squad from last season including senior players like Abdul Sibomana, Gatete, Jannot Witakenge, Manfred Kizito, Vincent Kayiizi, Joseph Bwalya, and Ben Mandela among others.
Gatete joined the military side in 2000 after a brief but unsuccessful stint (on trials basis) with various second division clubs in Belgium and Germany.
During that time, he won six league titles, four Amahoro Cups and two Cecafa Club championship titles. But he will greatly be remembered for his crucial goals that earned Rwanda her maiden appearance at the finals of 2004 African Cup of Nations in Tunisian.
Now, with Labama Bokota, the man hailed by many to be in line to succeed him (Gatete) as the country’s best striker, the thought of having the two playing together regularly, the new season can’t come as sooner for the Rayon faithful.