Tribute to former APR goalkeeper Claude Ishimwe
AT only 36, APR’s goalkeeping coach Jean Claude Ishimwe had just started what could have been a fruitful career in a sport he was deeply passionate about. Sadly, the jolly former Amavubi shot-stopper succumbed to meningitis on the evening of June 16 at Kigali University training hospital (CHK).
Born in Kabuguru sector in Nyamirambo to David Mpagazehe and Anna Kabera, Ishimwe started his playing career at Rayon Sport’s reserve side but was quickly promoted into the senior side.
After a two-year stint, Ishimwe was snapped up by Mukura. It was at the Southern Province club that he finally made his breakthrough to the national team ‘Amavubi Stars’ for the 1997 Cecafa Challenge Cup.
In 1998, he won his first major accolade when he helped Rwanda B win the Senior Challenge Cup after a well deserved 2-0 win over Uganda Cranes.
Two years later, more honours were flowing for Ishimwe as Amavubi edged Zambia to lift the Comesa Cup.
In 2001, he joined perennial champions APR but would only go on to make two appearances for the military after his playing career came to a sudden end when he broke his arm during a game between Amavubi and Cameroon.
Ishimwe joined coaching and soon got roles with the Under-17 national side, Amavubi before returning to APR as a goalkeeping coach, a position he held till his death.
Former players pay homage
Amavubi Stars’ assistant coach Eric Nshimiyimana says it is difficult to imagine that Ishimwe, a team mate at both country (Amavubi Stars) and club level (APR) is gone for good.
“It is difficult to accept that he is no longer with us. He was such a jolly fellow who took his career seriously,” Nshimiyimana recalls.
“He was very influential in the Comesa Cup triumph in 2000. It is so sad that he died before starting a family because that was one of his main priorities this year.”
APR goalkeepers Jean Luc Ndayishimiye a.k.a Bakame and Jean Claude Ndoli could not hide their grief.
“He was not only a coach to us, he was a friend and the training sessions were always interesting,” he added.
“We shall forever miss his counsel,” Bakame said.
May his soul rest in eternal peace.