Raoul Jean Pierre Shungu, who is on the verge of returning as Rayon Sports coach, has appealed to club faithful to be calm in these trying times.
The Congolese born trainer is in the country for talks with Rayon officials about the possibility of taking over as coach for the second spell that would see him relinquish his current job with the Seychelles Football Federation (S.F.F) where he his technical director.
In an exclusive interview with Times Sport, Raoul said, “Rayon sports fans should be calm in these hard times the club is going through as a new committee is yet to be put into place.”
He went on to add that “All clubs whether in Africa or Europe go through such times,” but according to him, “Fire is not extinguished by fire in football management.”
He asks the fans to be calm, support the leadership and avoid unnecessary gossip that may in the end tarnish the club’s efforts to recuperate.
Shungu, 48, is currently the technical director and head coach of all national teams, at all levels in the Seychelles Republic.
During his stay first spell at Rayon between 1998 and2004, Shungu guided the club to respectable 17 trophies, including the first CECAFA trophy by a Rwandese side in 1999.
In 2004, he helped Rayon to its last Championship update, but fell out with the club, due to multiple reasons ranging from poor management and meager pay among others.
That’s when he went for greener pastures in The Seychelles Republic. He has since signed two –two year contracts with The S.F.F. and the current one expires in August 2008.
According to him, “if they (Rayon) put a good deal on the table, I’ll have to go back to The Seychelles Republic on January 12 and terminate my contract but if they (Rayon Sports) fail, I’ll leave for The Seychelles and resume my work.” The Seychelles Football Federation, he reveled pays him enough (salary is a secret), and on top of that gives him accommodation, a car, and other necessities.
He was called here by Rayon leaders, Paul Muvunyi, the club president in particular due to the team’s slump in performance since his departure.
Since his arrivals on December 21, he stays in Kigali Serena Hotel, room number 221 which is paid by Muvunyi.
He has since attended several Rayon training sessions and it’s on this note that he highlighted some of the club’s current dilemmas.
He attributes the club’s current woes to poor management that doesn’t avail players’ salaries in time, something he says should not be happening in a club as big as Rayon with such a big fan base.
Not paying the players in time also, he noted, “breeds indiscipline in the camp and players begin playing matches when they are only sure of payment”.
Bokota Labama, the prolific striker is back to his native DR Congo because of similar reasons.
Rayon other burning problem is its training ground, commonly known as Malariya in Rugunga, which Shungu claims ‘is not adequate for a club of Rayon’s caliber’. He advises they get a new training ground while renovating the other.
About the influx of foreign players in the national league, he said, “Football has become universal but the only problem is how to handle foreign players and creating a scheme to develop young local players.” He adds, ‘Rwandese should emphasise youth football camps and players train harder because foreign players give headache to the team, fans and coaches”.
He goes on to note that, “Only a few foreign players with great ability and professionalism should be incorporated into the national league.”
The charismatic Congolese didn’t hesitate to pour praise on the current Rayon coach, Thierry Hitimana, who he says is ‘a great coach who knows how to the work’.
He also acknowledged, “He (Thierry) is my confidant and I am ready to work with him if given the chance”.
Since 2004, Rayon has won just the Amahoro Cup (in 2005) and this season they have already lost twice in three league matches.