After relegated from the first division league at the end of last season, Isonga FC will commence its annual programs of registering new players on Tuesday at Rwanda football Federation (FERWAFA) grounds mostly from the just concluded Airtel Rising Stars (ARS) III edition.
In an interview with Times Sport on Friday, Isonga secretary general, Parfait Busabizwa, revealed that FERWAFA’s technical team selected over 100 players from different teams during Airtel Rising Stars U-17 Youth Championships and from this number, only the best 25 players will be recruited to join the youth club, which is run by FERWAFA and sponsored by the Ministry of Sports and Culture.
“A total of 44 players will report here (FERWAFA) on Monday evening and on Tuesday morning the first phase of selection will start. Later other phases will follow because we shall have three selection phases,” said Busabizwa.
He also revealed that they are set to release all their current players to join other teams and concentrate on developing new youngsters because, as he says, “the main intention of the club is to act as a platform for young players to develop their talents.”
“This year we shall select only players below 16 years of age and with good academic performance. We shall need their school report forms as a precondition,” added Busazibwa.
Airtel Rwanda Brand and Communication Manager Clementine Nyampinga confirmed the partnership with FERWAFA in supporting and nurturing young boys and girls so that they can be able to live their dream of playing for a big football club or national team.
“We saw a lot of exceptional talents in this year’s ARS tournament and they proved what it takes to strive for bigger dreams, so Airtel is ready to work closely with FERWAFA to implement this programme,” said Nyampinga.
Isonga FC have been at the heart of developing young players since 2011 when the club was formed comprising players that featured in 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup finals tournament in Mexico.
Since then, the club has produced players, who have gone on to realize their dream of playing for the big clubs in Rwanda and the national team—among them, center-back Emery Bayisenge, who recently joined Austria’s Lask Linz FC from APR, Police FC goalkeeper Marcel Nzarora, APR defender Michel Rusheshangoga.
Last season, there were reports that the youthful team would be disbanded due to lack of ‘proper facilitation’, but this was later denied by the Club president Gregoire Muramira.
Isonga together with Etincelles were relegated from the topflight division last season and will be replaced by Bugesera and Rwamagana for the 2015/16 season which gets underway next month.