The Isonga Academy team departed for Abidjan on Tuesday ahead of the 4th edition of the Tournoi International du District Autonome d’Abidjan (TIDA), which is scheduled to be staged from November 30 to December 6 in Côte d’Ivoire.
Head Moussa Gatera travelled with a 20-player squad. The delegation will have a stop-over in Cotonou, Benin before connecting to Abidjan. The week-long youth tournament is only reserved for U-18 players.
Three groups of four teams have been formed for this year’s edition. Holders Asec Mimosas (Côte d’Ivoire) are placed in Pool A alongside FC San Pedro (Côte d’Ivoire), FC Lakika (Mali) and Junior Volcano (Côte d’Ivoire).
Rwanda’s Isonga FC is in Pool B along with Côte d’Ivoire U17, WAFA (Ghana) and Racing Club d’Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire).
Pool C is made up of Royal VI Academy (Morocco), SOA (Côte d’Ivoire), Ivoire Academie (Côte d’Ivoire) and Royal SC (Burkina Faso). The matches will be staged at Champroux de Marcory and the Sports complexes of Yopougon and Abobo respectively.
The first ranked teams in each group at the end of the knock-out matches will qualify for the semi-finals. The teams that will hold second place will play in a half-time tournament, after which the winner will complete the semi-final stage.
Isonga FC started with the pool of players that participated in Africa U-17 Youth Championships held in Rwanda and later at the World Cup finals tournament in Mexico, in order for the country to have a large pool of young players to feed the big clubs.
The team was promoted to the U-20 level and registered to play in the national league without going through the second division.
Under Eric Nshimiyimana, Isonga FC finished in sixth position in its debut season in the 2011/12 season, but failed to maintain that impressive form the next campaign, which saw them relegated to the second-tier league.
The team gained promotion to the Azam Rwanda Premier League this year but withdrew even before a ball was kicked in order to focus on its original idea of running as a football academy.
Isonga traveling squad:
Players: Emmanuel Iradukunda, Marc Nkubana, Christian Ishimwe, Aime PlacideUwineza, Tresor Ndabarasa, Peter Turatsinze, Janvier Bonane and Patrick Mugisha,
Jean Paul Nduwayezu, Bogarde Cyitegetse, Sareh Ishimwe, Jerome Twagiramungu, Yvan Mugisha, Robert Mandera, Amani Rutayisire, Shaffy Songayingabo, Fiacre Ntwali, Lague Byiringiro, Guilain Uwimana and Henry Butare.
Officials: Mousa Gatera, Mouhamed Nonde, Calliope Kabalisa, Aimable Ntarengwa, Sixbert Habimana and Jean Paul Rwabuyonza.