The 2009 Kagame Cup winners, Atraco, have withdrawn from the Primus league and MTN Peace Cup, citing financial constraints. This comes following non payment of players and coaching staff’s salaries in the last three months.
In 2007, Atraco won the national football league and two years later, the club rewrote history by winning the Cecafa/Kagame Cup on their debut.
This is not only a fall from grace, but also an embarrassment and disappointment to the team’s fans and supporters. It is an experience that should serve as a lesson to other clubs. Teams should work hard to generate their own income, because without guaranteed funds, there is practically no way a club can survive.
Clubs shouldn’t expect blank cheques from sponsors or from the government, they should instead look into other avenues to cover their operating costs. They could, for example, take advantage of the wide fan base to sell club merchandise to generate income.
On the other hand, corporates should include within their budgets, funding for local clubs. It would be a win-win situation for both the companies and the clubs if such relationships existed.
From the larger perspective, football in Rwanda and sports in general, has reached a stage where there is a lot of talent waiting to be exploited. If local clubs start dying out, there will be no platform for Rwandans to develop their football.