Patrick Gakumba, Rwanda’s FIFA certified football agent has said that local players have long way to go before they can get an opportunity to play in Europe’s top leagues, especially the English Premier League.
Gakumba has been involved in a number of key transfer deals for several players like Uganda star striker Farouk Miya to Belgiun side Standard Lige at a reported US$400,000.
Speaking to Times Sport at the weekend, he reiterated the fact that, for a Rwandan footballer to join any team in the Premier League, Rwanda must be ranked in FIFA’s top 50, and also a certain number of international caps are required depending on the country’s status.
“Besides the tough rules, the players must prove that they actually are able to perform at that level, which is still a very big challenge for our players, not only Rwandans but across the whole region,” Gakumba said.
But before a player reaches a level where he can be noticed by any European club(s), Gakumba noted, “There is a need for domestic footballers to have professional managers or agents, who are well-connected in the circles of international football.
He stated that, “If coaches groom good players, we shall have strong clubs, that in turn will produce good players for a strong national team, which can compete well and consistently at the continental level, and in the process, Rwandan players will be noticed by the agents representing European clubs.”
“Football cannot be complete without agents; we play a big role as middlemen. In majority of our clubs, players don’t have agents representing their interests, which is a problem.
Agents play an important role in looking after a player’s interests like finding a new club, negotiating fees and making sure the player gets the best contract possible,” Gakumba explained.
He further disclosed that, in Rwanda, many deals go wrong because players don’t understand what they have signed with the clubs, and also, they can’t go to play in Europe’s top league, because they are not good enough for that level.
Gakumba, who is well-connected with continental clubs like DR Congo giants TP Mazembe, Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa, Kenya’s Gor Mahia, among others, says his mission is to help Rwandan players get opportunities to play outside the country.
He was the brain behind Jacques Tuyisenge, Meddie Kagere and Jean Baptiste Mugiraneza’s move to Gor Mahia and he recently orchestrated the transfers of four Ugandan players to Rwandan clubs-including Benson Rahim Ociti (SC Kiyovu), Frank Kalanda (AS Kigali) and Eddie Babu (Musanze FC)