Rwanda Rugby Federation (RRF) is seeking to expand the league from seven to nine clubs for the 2015/16 season, which is scheduled to get underway next month. One of the two new clubs is Resilience Rugby Football Club, which is based in Rusizi.
Another one is Tumba Jaguars RFC from Tumba College of Technology in Rulindo, which the RRF hopes to bring back to the league—they last featured during the 2011 season.
Resilience were formed in June this year by Donatien Ufitimfura, a Social Sciences student at the Teacher Training College (TTC) Mururu.
Ufitimfura picked interest in the game with other schoolmates when Friends of Rwandan Rugby (FoRR), an NGO promoting rugby in schools in the country, held an 8-week introductory sessions and workshops at TTC Mururu in May last year.
“I trained a bit and it wasn’t too hard picking up the basics from the drills the trainers taught us. From the onset, I knew it (rugby) was the sport for me,” Ufitimfura, the club’s coach-player, told Times Sport.
After the workshop, FoRR coaches left behind equipment, including balls and cones, among others, and have since been doing follow up trips to assess the progress of the game at the school.
In June, this year, Ufitimfura, 25, together with a couple of schoolmates, who had attended the introductory sessions, formed Resilience RFC.
“I saw many boys here who were physically gifted, I said why not. I wanted a place where I could play during holidays, so we came up with the idea to form a club,” he explained.
The club is largely made up of TTC Mururu students, who account for 23 of the 28 members. Using students is a common trend for nearly all the league clubs.
However, running the club is a challenge for Ufitimfura, who is due to complete his studies this year. He believes he will have more time after school to look for sponsors.
But, before being considered to compete in the national championship, the club needs to secure a legal status.
They have submitted their papers and are awaiting a response.
The RRF secretary general, Tharcisse Kamanda, says Resilience are not the only club in the process of getting legal status but the other clubs in the league which have played for years without proper documentations.
“Not only Resilience but we encourage clubs to acquire legal status to be able to attract sponsors,” Kamanda told this paper.
Rusizi is separated from the rest of the country by the favorite tourist destination, Nyungwe Forest, so making trips to playing the other teams in the league will require some proper financial backing for Resilience RFC.
The existing seven clubs are; Remera Buffaloes (registered), Kigali Sharks (registered), Lion de Fer (not registered), Kamonyi Pumas (not registered), Muhanga (not registered), UR-Grizzlies (not registered) and Thousand Hills (not registered).