PHOTOS: Nation mourns ex-Amavubi stars Katauti, Gangi

Rwanda’s football fraternity and the nation at large woke up to shocking news yesterday, about the untimely death of former Rwanda internationals and football legends Hamadi 'Katauti' Ndikumana and Bonaventure 'Gangi' Hategekimana.
Rayon Sports players, including Ismailla Diarra (left) and Tidiane Kone (right), carry the body of the Blues' former assistant coach Hamadi Katauti Ndikumana from his home in Nyaka....
Rayon Sports players, including Ismailla Diarra (left) and Tidiane Kone (right), carry the body of the Blues' former assistant coach Hamadi Katauti Ndikumana from his home in Nyaka....

Rwanda’s football fraternity and the nation at large woke up to shocking news yesterday, about the untimely death of former Rwanda internationals and football legends Hamadi ‘Katauti’ Ndikumana and Bonaventure ‘Gangi’ Hategekimana.

Katauti, 39, one of the best defenders Rwanda has ever had, has been Rayon Sports’ assistant coach.  

While Gangi had spent a couple of months in hospital after he had initially been discharged, Katauti’s death came as a complete shock as he had fully participated in Rayon’s training session on Tuesday – only hours before his death.

1510771683Rayon-sports-players-together-with-relatives-carry-the-body-of-Ndikumana-Hamad-to-Qaddafi-Mosque-in-Nyamirambo
Rayon Sports players carry the body of their former coach from his home to Qaddafi Mosque. / Timothy Kisambira
1510771803Ndikumanas-father-arrives-to-give-the-last-respect-to-his-son-in-Nyamirambo
Ndikumana’s father, also known as Katauti, shortly after arriving from Burundi to say final goodbye to his departed son. / Timothy Kisambira
1510772429Ndikumana-Hamads-mother-cries-as-she-arrives-at--the-sons-premises-in-Nyamirambo-
Katauti's mother cries inconsolably on arrival at her son's home in Nyakabanda. She arrived in a bus from Burundi, along with other relatives. / Timothy Kisambira
1510771914A-relative-from-Burundi--cries-on-her-arrival-at-the-late-Ndikumana-Hamads-house-in-Nyamirambo.-Timothy-Kisambira
A relative cries on her arrival at the late Katauti's home in Nyakabanda last evening. / Timothy Kisambira

Gangi, 36, another of Rwanda’s finest defenders who played for several topflight clubs including heavyweights Rayon Sports and APR FC, passed away from Kabutare Hospital where he had been transferred several weeks ago from Rubavu Hospital as he battled tuberculosis, Katauti breathed his last Tuesday night from his home in Nyakabanda Sector, Nyarugenge District in Kigali.

Katauti was laid to rest by thousands of mourners at Nyamirambo Muslim Cemetery last evening, moments after his inconsolable mother arrived from Burundi to say final goodbye to his son.

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Female relatives of the deceased cry at Rayon Sports' legend's home on Tuesday. / Timothy Kisambira
1510772112Children-wait-to-see-the-body-of-Ndikumana-,-as-its--being-escorted-to-Qaddafi-Mosque-in-Nyamirambo
Children shortly before Katauti's body was carried by his former players from his home in Nyakabanda to the nearby Qaddafi Mosque in Nyamirambo. / Timothy Kisambira
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Friends and relatives escort the body of Katauti en route to Qaddafi Mosque in Nyamirambo for farewell prayers. / Timothy Kisambira
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A relative weeps at the former Amavubi captain's home in Nyakabanda. / Timothy Kisambira
1510772532Niwin-Sorlu-the-wife-to-Olivier-Karekezi,-arrives-to-give-the-last-respect-to-Ndikumana
Niwin Sorlu, the wife of Rayon Sports head coach Olivier Karekezi, arrives to give her last respects to her husband's former assistant. / Timothy Kisambira

Shorty before his burial at around 6p.m, mourners gathered at Kwa Qaddafi mosque in Nyamirambo for prayers.

‘Country has lost legends’

The cause of his death remains unclear pending autopsy results.

The Minister for Sports and Culture, Julienne Uwacu, led the nation in mourning and paying tribute to the former national team stars, highlighting their contribution toward the development of Rwanda football.

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Mourners at the home of Hamad Ndikumana Katauti in Nyakabanda last evening. / Timothy Kisambira
1510772832Nyamirambo-residents-stand-on-the-road-side-to-pay-the-last-respect-to-Ndikumana-Hamads-body-as-its-carried-to-Qaddafi-Mosque-in-Nyamirambo
Shocked mourners stand by the road as Katauti's body was carried to Qaddafi Mosque in Nyamirambo for prayers. / Timothy Kisambira
1510772932Nyamirambo-residents-wait-outside-of-the-house-to-pay-the-last-respect-to-Ndikumana-
It was grief as mourners from different parts of Rwanda descended on Nyakabanda to say final goodbye to the former national captain. / Timothy Kisambira
1510773034Rayon-spoerts-players-stand-outside-the-house-of-Ndikumana-as-they-wait-to-pay-the-last-respect
Rayon Sports players and staff were among the first to enter Katauti's house to pay their last respects. / Timothy Kisambira
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Mourners queue to pay last respect to Hamad Katauti Ndikumana, who passed away suddenly Tuesday night. / Timothy Kisambira
1510773201State-Minister-for-Primary-and-Secondary-Education-Isaac-Munyakazi-arrives-at-the-deceased-home-to-pay-last-respect
State Minister for Primary and Secondary Education Isaac Munyakazi arrives at the deceased's home in Nyakabanda to pay his last respects. / Timothy Kisambira
1510773272The-Bus-that-was-carrying-the-relatives-of-Ndikumana--from-Burindi-arrives-in-Nyamirambo
Relatives and friends disembark from a bus on arrival at the former Rwanda international's home in Nyakabanda last evening. / Timothy Kisambira

“Our deepest condolences to the families of Hamadi and Hategekimana, we will always remember their contribution in developing Rwanda through football. RIP,” she tweeted.

Rwanda Football Association (FERWAFA) president Vincent Nzamwita said: “The country has lost two legends, who loved football and their country at large.”

“For Gangi, we knew he had been ill for some time but the death of Katauti has really shocked everyone because he didn’t have any signs of illness. We send our condolences to their families, Rayon Sports fans and all Rwandans in general,” he added.
 
‘A true gentleman’  

Nzamwita continued: “Katauti, much as he had retired as a player he had continued contributing to the growth of Rwandan football in the different roles he held, first in Musanze last season, and Rayon Sports, where he was assistant coach.”

Former Amavubi goalkeeper Ramadhan Nkunzingoma, who was a teammate to Katauti in the national team and has lately been working with him at Rayon, where the former is the goalkeepers coach, said he was at a loss for words. “I am at loss for words, it’s hard to believe that he’s gone, he was such a gentleman and we will really miss him.”

Katauti and Nkunzingoma were part of the legendary Amavubi team that featured at the 2004 Afcon finals – the only Rwandan team to have participated at the continent’s most prestigious football tournament.

1510777414Both-Ndikumana,-left,-and-Hategekimana,-right,-featured-for-the-national-team-but-the-former-had-a-longer-career-having-guided-Amavubi-to-their-only-appearance-in-the-2004-African-Nations-Cup
Katauti (left) and Gangi (right) in Amavubi colours. The two former defenders and Rwanda football legends passed on yesterday. / Courtesy
1510777488Gangi-played-for-a-host-of-local-clubs,-including-Marines-FC
Gangi played for a host of local clubs, including Marines FC. / File
1510777555Gangi,-right,-with-his-famous-smile,-hugs-Rayon-Sports-captain-before-a-league-match-between-Rayon-Sports-and-Etincelles
Gangi, right, with his famous smile, hugs Rayon Sports captain before a league match between Rayon Sports and Etincelles. / File
1510777633Ndikumana-married-Tanzanian-actress-Irene-Uwoya-(Oprah)-in-2009
Hamadi 'Katauti' Ndikumana married Tanzanian actress Irene Uwoya (Oprah) in 2009. / File
1510777698Hamdi-Ndikumana,-right,-captained-Amavubi-between-2006-and-2010
Hamdi Ndikumana, right, captained Amavubi between 2006 and 2010. / File

Rayon Sports also eulogized their former captain and assistant coach. “We are saddened by the death of our colleague and staff,” Rayon Sports secretary-general Bernard Itangishaka told Times Sport Wednesday. “Everyone at the club is shocked by his sudden death and our prayers are with his family and friends, who have lost a true gentleman.”

Charles Mugemana, the club’s doctor, told the media that he was called by Katauti’s housemate on Tuesday night who reported that the latter was complaining of severe chest pains, but by the time Mugemana reached Katauti’s home at around midnight, he had already passed on.

Katauti retired from football in 2015 and was shortly after appointed assistant coach at the topflight league side, Espoir Football Club.

1510777763Katauti-and-Olivier-Karekezi,-left,-helped-Amavubi-reach-the-2004-Afcon-finals-in-Tunisia
Katauti and Olivier Karekezi, left, helped Amavubi reach the 2004 Afcon finals in Tunisia. / File
1510777824Katauti-and-Oprah-had-one-child-together
Katauti and Oprah had one child together.
1510777886Katauti,-regarded-as-one-of-the-best-defenders-the-country-has-produced,-retired-in-2015-and-was-appointed-assistant-coach-at-local-league-side,-Espoir-Football-Club
Katauti, regarded as one of the best defenders the country has produced, retired in 2015 and was appointed assistant coach at local league side, Espoir Football Club.

He spent the following season working as an assistant coach at Musanze FC, under Rayon former teammate Sosethene Habimana.

Katauti, who is survived by two children, was a mainstay for Amavubi for well over a decade, and was seen as a natural leader – at least on the pitch – long before he became the national team captain.

He started his playing career in the 1990s in Burundi, before moving to Rwanda, and later to several European countries where he played for topflight teams, including in Belgium and Cyprus.

In his prime, he played for several teams in UEFA Champions League and Europa League, in one match impressing against Brazilian star Robinho and his Manchester City side.

1510777950Katauti,-right,-and-Karekezi-(C)-conduct-the-first-Rayon-Sports-training
Katauti, right, and Karekezi (C) conduct the first Rayon Sports training. / Sam Ngendahimana
1510778010Katauti,-seen-here-during-Rayon-Sports-training
Katauti, seen here during Rayon Sports training.

Gangi to be laid to rest today

Meanwhile, Gangi will be laid to rest on Thursday in Rubavu District, according to FERWAFA vice president Vedaste Kayiranga.

Gangi retired in February last year having played for several clubs including; Rayon Sports, APR FC, Atraco, SC Kiyovu, Etincelles, Marines, AS Muhanga, Musanze FC and Espoir FC.

The former defender played for Amavubi mainly between 2002 and 2010.

***

KATAUTI'S CAREER AT A GLANCE

Clubs

Years              Club                    
1998–1999     Rayon Sports  (Rwanda)  
2000–2001     KV Turnhout   (Belgium)  
2001–2002    RSC Anderlecht  (Belgium)  
2002–2003    KV Mechelen    ((Belgium)  
2003–2005    KAA Gent    (Belgium)
2005–2006   APOP Kinyras Peyias FC (Cyprus)
2006–2007   Nea Salamina     (Cyprus)
2007–2008   Anorthosis Famagusta FC (Cyprus)
2008–2009   AC Omonia   Nicosia (Cyprus)     
2009–2010   AEL Limassol  (Cyprus)
2011            APOP Kinyras Peyias FC (Cyprus)

National team
First captain for Rwanda in 1998

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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