At 24, Michel ‘Bugesera’ Ndahinduka is living his childhood dream. The key striker for APR FC has an enviable career dotted with is a story of hard work, determination and discipline, writes Richard Bishumba
Since his childhood, he was always into football.
He would disappear from home without notifying his parents to play football.
“My parents used to restrict me a lot. Later on, after realising they couldn’t stop me, they started supporting me,” Ndahinduka narrates.
The Nyamata-born Ndahinduka has known no other sport his entire life other than football and he doesn’t regret it.
”I never gave a chance to a different sport, it has been football my whole life and I have no regrets.”
The powerful striker featured for his primary and secondary school football teams in the inter-schools’ championships but unfortunately, he never won any trophy with any of them.
Second division league career
Ndahinduka, who turns 25 next month, describes his football growth as phenomenal.
He started his football exploits at primary school and rose through the ranks to play for the biggest team in the top flight division league.
The Rwanda international spent four seasons (2009-2013) in the second division league, featuring for two different sides. He started at Bugesera (2009/2010) and played for Unity FC in the 2010/2011 campaign before returning to Bugesera for the seasons of 2011/2012 and 2012/2013.
During his last season at Bugesera, he scored 28 goals (22 league goals and six in Peace Cup) to help the Eastern Province-based side reach the Peace Cup semi-finals as well as the last four in the second division league before switching to APR in July 2013.
“The 2-1 win over Rayon Sports in the Peace Cup round of last sixteen is one of my best memories, I scored the second goal to carry Bugesera to the quarter-finals,” he recalls.
Honors with APR
The forward, is in his second season with APR, and is the main goal-getter for the military side and has contributed a lot since his arrival 18 months ago.
In his first season, he led the club to a record-extending 14th league title, record of the eighth Peace Cup title as well as helping the club reach the final of Cecafa Kagame Cup held in Kigali where they lost to El Merreikh of Sudan 1-0. Ndahinduka’s contract with APR runs out this summer and is open to renewal.
National team duties
Since his breakthrough in mid-2013 with Bugesera FC, Ndahinduka has been a regular on the national senior team, Amavubi Stars. He became the first player to be called up to the national team from a second division league side.
“The record is a great honor, the fact that I stormed into the national team from second division is the best thing that has ever happened to me. It is a result of hard work, determination and discipline,” noted Ndahinduka, who is nicknamed after his former club, Bugesera.
Since his maiden cap in 2013, Ndahinduka has made sixteen appearances in national colours scoring five goals for Amavubi including the equaliser against Congo Brazzaville which made it 2-2 on aggregate over the two legs in the qualifier for 2015 Afcon.
What others say about him?
Vincent Mashami, his coach both at APR and Amavubi Stars says Ndahinduka is a very courageous man, who always wants to contribute to the club’s success. Off the pitch, he is humble and social person.
Meanwhile, Emery Bayisenge, his teammate at APR and the national team, says; “He is like brother, his relationship with teammates goes far from being just teammates. He’s also funny with a lot of jokes but serious at work.”
Pro career dream
“I must admit my football has grown step by step and I truly thank everyone who has played a role in it, but I also have to work harder to achieve my ultimate dream of playing at the professional level.”
Who is Ndahinduka?
Born on March 3, 1990 in Nyamata sector, Bugesera District, Eastern Province to Michel Nsanzabaganwa and Alvera nyiransabimana, he is the fourth-born child from a family of eight children, three boys and five girls.
He attended Nyamata-based Musenyi primary school before switching to ETO Nyamata for the whole of secondary school, pursuing general mechanics in advanced level that he completed in 2012 and is planning to enroll at university later this year.
Ndahinduka is not only a football player but also a big fan, he is a Manchester United diehard in English Premier League and Nigerian international John obi Michael is his favorite star.
He also looks up to Ivorian striker and Manchester City new signing Wilfried Bony as a player he would like to imitate because of his energetic playing style.