President Paul Kagame has criticized the country’s football officials for making “stupid” mistakes that resulted in the senior national team being disqualified from the Afcon 2015 qualifiers after it had reached the final qualification round.
The President was yesterday addressing a news conference in Kigali.
“There was a case where the football institution here used a Congolese (player) and they told lies about something. Our people got involved in some funny business – some individuals, either the managers of the team or whoever I don’t know,” the President.
Kagame, a well known football fan, was referring to last year’s Caf decision to ban Amavubi from further participation in the qualifiers after the country had reached the final round of the qualifiers for fielding an ineligible player.
He added: “It shouldn’t have happened because they did a stupid thing, whether it was corruption or telling lies and all it ended up with is disqualifying our team.”
Local football administrators, Ferwafa, came under heavy criticism after Amavubi were disqualified on grounds that the country had fielded Dady Birori, a Congolese born naturalized Rwandan, who was found to be playing under two different identities – one name registered under his Congolese club AS Vita and another under Amavubi.
Kagame wondered why Birori had to be drafted in the national team yet Amavubi had the capacity to win games without him. Birori missed the return leg against the Republic of Congo which Rwanda won after a tense penalty shootout, sending the country through to the group stages before it was disqualified and replaced with Congo.
Birori acquired Rwandan nationality in 2009 before getting a Congolese passport in 2013 under the name Tady Etekiama Agiti. Afcon finals will commence tomorrow in Equatorial Guinea.
The President pointed out that success in sports calls for investment just like the country has done in the other sectors. He said; “I have been vindicated on the issue of diversifying sports disciplines and replicating it elsewhere.”
Meanwhile, Kagame praised the national cycling team which won the 2014 Tour du Rwanda and is currently enjoying relative success at the ongoing Tour of Egypt in Hurghada.
The reigning winner of Tour du Rwanda Valens Ndayisenga won the prologue stage at the first event on the UCU Africa Tour calendar as compatriot Janvier Hadi finished in third at the competition that attracted 13 teams from around the continent.