Rayon Sports football club have until march 31 to pay the remainder of arrears owed to former coach Raoul Shungu’s arrears or face relegation to the second division.
The Nyanza-based side owes the Congolese tactician Rwf6m, after paying off Rwf15m of the total Rwf22m that was owed to Shungu.
According to club insiders, the money accumulated during Shungu’s second stint at the club in 2008 when he agreed with club officials to use his own money to bring in players like Honore Kabongo, Bokota Labama, Jean Lomami and Jimmy Kidega. Shungu is also said to have used his own money to buy logistics like balls, nets and training kit.
Rayon Sports were facing financial problems at the time and agreed to pay back Shungu but never did so, failing to also pay one month’s salary to the former Amavubi coach. The Congolese coach was earning $2500 at the time.
Shungu left Rayon Sports in May 2009 after falling out with his assistant Jean Baptiste Kayiranga and the club’s leadership. Kayiranga would later take over as head coach.
In September 2009, Shungu wrote to Ferwafa asking for their intervention as Rayon Sports dragged their feet over payment of his money but the football governing body didn’t do much.
He then took the matter to Fifa in 2011 and in 2012 Fifa wrote to Rayon Sports asking them to pay the money or risk severe punishment. Towards the end of last year, Fifa again warned Rayon Sports that if they fail to pay before march 31, then they will be relegated to the second division and pay double the money they owe Shungu.
Rayon Sports secretary general and spokesperson Aimée Emmanuel Ndayisabye told this paper that they are working round the clock to raise the money and solve the long standing issue that has put the club’s credibility at stake.
“The club has not been in a healthy financial status for a while but, despite that, we have mobilised and paid him some of the money. We are very much committed to paying the remainder before March 31,” Ndayisabye said.
The president of Rwanda Football Federation (Ferwafa), Vincent De Gaule Nzamwita, said they are in talks with Rayon Sports so as to help them settle the issue.
“Rayon Sports have demonstrated willingness to solve this problem and we believe it is coming to end but we are going to sit with the team administrators so that we can complete this for good,” Nzamwita said.
Nzamwita added that it is unimaginable for a club like Rayon Sports getting relegated to the second division. The Blues have the biggest fan base in the country with some estimates putting them at over one million and its relegation would not only affect the competitiveness of the league but also Ferwafa’s ability to attract sponsorship.
Shungu is widely regarded as Rayon’s most successful coach in the club’s history after guiding them to the 1999 Cecafa Club championship title and three league titles – in 1997, 1998 and 2002.