Rayon Sports players have paid glowing tribute to their late former assistant coach Hamadi ‘Katauti’ Ndikumana, who passed away Tuesday night at his home in Nyakabanda and was laid to rest on Wednesday.
The 39-year old former Rayon Sports and Amavubi captain passed away on the same night as another ex-Rwanda international Bonaventure ‘Gangi’ Hategekimana.
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 participated in Rayon’s training session earlier in the day (Tuesday) – only hours before his sudden death.
Rayon Sports captain Eric ‘Bakame’ Ndayishimiye disclosed how the team trained normally on Tuesday afternoon with assistant coach Katauti taking part in a training match over 90 minutes before he returned home like everyone else.
“He took charge of training and even took part (in training match), it was the first time he had played with us for 90 minutes and when I heard news that he had died, at first I didn’t believe it until I heard from different people. He was a nice person, we’ll miss him,” Bakame told Times Sport.
He added, “His death really caught all us by surprise, which is why I first questioned the news when I first heard it and then I learnt that Gangi had also passed away that same night, it’s really sad moment for not only Rwandan football but the sports fraternity.”
Midfielder Yannick Mukunzi said the club and the country had lost an important man, who still had so much to contribute to advance Rwandan football due to his vast experience playing in Europe.
“It is hard to understand, because Katauti, by the time he passed away, he did not have any health complications, at least according to what the (Rayon Sports club) doctor told us” the Rwandan interatonal noted.
He further stated that, “I have known him as a good man, simple in society, and yes, we will always remember him. He made working with him in training enjoyable because he was hands-on and when you didn’t understand his message, he would demonstrate it practically.”
Central defender Faustin Usengimana noted, “My heart is broken because Katauti was not only my coach but he my friend and role model; he inspired me to play in this position.”
AS Kigali head coach, Eric Nshimiyimana, who says he knew both Katauti and Gangi quite well but especially the former from a young age said, “Both were my friends especially Katauti and we shall miss them, but that is God’s plan, today its them, tomorrow is someone else.