My only hope for SC Kiyovu in the forthcoming 2016/17 national football season is to win either the league title of Peace Cup to end the 23-year long trophy drought.
Kiyovu, one of the oldest football clubs in Rwanda, were crowned the league champions in 1992 and in 1993 they won a double back-to-back and ever since, it has been a struggle on and off the field, season-in-season-out.
Yes, there were hiccups in the last three seasons, but the ambition should be to improve this season which kicks off exactly seven days from today.
Thrice they postponed the club executive committee elections, a move that was criticised by fans and media.
But they finally held it last weekend and a new executive committee, led by Luis Claude Gasamagera was elected to revive the club’s fortunes. Hon. Saidat Mukanoheli is the new vice president while Damas Gashumba is secretary general.
Hassan Rutikanga was elected as the second vice president, with Shaban Muhamed taking over the treasury and Omar Gasasira is in charge of technical side of the club as well as public relations.
Despite posting 14 wins, six draws and 10 losses last season, Kiyovu were playing “ugly football” according to observers, who say, the Nyamirambo-based side need to install a win-at-all-costs mentality to go with some “beautiful performances.”
Last season, only against Gicumibi FC did Kiyovu, under Yves Rwasamanzi as head coach, score four goals, and even though they beat Bugesera FC 3-2 in the second round, they needed Andre Lomami’s late brace to make sure they were not embarrassed by the league debutants.
The last four seasons, have all ended the same for the oldest football club in Rwanda failing to finish in the top four. In the 2014-2015 season, the club finished 8th.
In the eyes of many analysts and observers, there seem to be too much of mental fragility in every sense of the word because all seem to be the same for the Mumena-based ‘Green Baggies’, and the status quo won’t change unless the board open their wallets and sign quality, not quantity.
As observed recently, the warning signs this season have been in the AS Kigali Pre-season tournament where Kiyovu reached the semi-finals but lost to DR Congo giants, AS Vita Club.
While other opponents are haggling for players and signing coaches in the transfer market, the club’s absurd move was to appoint Alloys Kanamugire as their interim head coach ahead of the 2016/17 season.
I am not saying that the club managers should rob the bank to buy the top cream, but they need to look at what their rivals are doing in preparation for the league start – even ‘smaller’ clubs like AS Kigali, Sunrise FC or even Bugesera FC have done better in the transfer market.
Well, Kanamugire is good at what he does; but the former Amavubi player, who is also the club’s technical director, is better at nurturing young talent.
This is quite different in today’s football if you want to compete against the likes of APR FC or Rayon Sports, you must invest or else you will be left behind liking self-inflicted wounds.
The club lost Rwasamanzi, who has since joined APR FC, having guided them to 6th position last season.
In January this year, the club sacked Innocent Seninga for underachieving, which means, for the last two years, Kiyovu have not finished a season under a single coach.
In the upcoming season, fans will be hoping for Kiyovu to improve, especially on the field as they’ve done off the field after electing a new management committee.
The club has been the least active in the transfer market, bringing in two new faces including striker Blaise Mutuyimana and midfielder Francoise Mustapha, both from Burundi.
Regardless, Kiyovu, who last won the league title back in 1993, still need to attempt a few more good signings and find their true identity before the alarm bells begin ringing for Rwanda’s oldest club.
There are a lot of unpleasant questions that need to be answered concerning their strategic plan before the wheels come off their league train.