The minister for Defence, James Kabarebe has hailed the late Captain Jean Marie Ntagwabira for diligently serving the country as a good soldier. The ex-Amavubi coach and sportsman was a Captain serving under the Reserve Force.
“He was a disciplined soldier and he always tried his best to make Rwanda proud. He joined Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA), now Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) and he was one of the best soldiers we had,” Kabarebe said in his tribute to the fallen former Rwanda international.
Ntagwabira, 41, breathed his last on Monday after losing the battle to lung complications at Rwanda military hospital, Kanombe where he was admitted three weeks ago. He will be laid to rest today at Kanombe Military Cemetery at 1pm after a requiem mass at the home of the deceased in Kagugu starting at 8am. He also coached APR, Kiyovu and Rayon Sports club during his coaching career.
Kabarebe added that Ntagwabira was also a good player and good coach who gave his best to the army as well as football, and pledged to continue supporting his family.
“In 1993, when we formed APR FC, we invited Mukura Victory Sports to Mulindi for a friendly (game) and we beat them 1-0, and the lone goal was scored by Ntagwabira, he was so committed to our cause,” Kabarebe reminisced.
Another high ranking army officer and former APR FC president, Major General Alex Kagame, said Rwandan football has lost someone exceptional — a disciplined soldier and a top sportsman.
“He was a winner and courageous in his work. He worked so hard to give his best and he gave his life to Rwanda both as a soldier and a sportsman,” Maj. Gen. Kagame said.
Meanwhile, the Rwanda National Olympic Committee (RNOC) sent their condolences to Ntagwabira’s family, Rwanda Football Federation (Ferwafa) and Sunrise FC.
“We are sad to hear that Ntagwabira has passed on, we stand with his family during these difficult times, Sunrise, Ferwafa and all football family. We are together and will support you,” reads a statement signed by the body’s president, Robert Bayigamba.