THE Ministry of Sports and Culture (MINISPOC) has moved to strengthen Isonga Football Academy ahead of next year’s U17 World Cup.
Speaking to Times Sport, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sports and Culture, John Ntigengwa said that the aim is to nurture young talented players.
“Isonga academy is a long term project because it will continue to work as the nursery bed for grooming young talented football players in the country,” Ntigengwa said.
Under the new move, after detecting talented young players, their parents are asked to let them join the academy. So far 25 youngsters are benefitting from the training programme, and stay at FERWAFA dormitory.
“The 25 players have also joined APE Rugunga Secondary School to continue with their studies. We facilitate them with transport to school but the school fees is paid by parents. We also accommodate them,” the club Chairman Gregoire Muramira said.
FERWAFA and MINISPOC plan to launch a competition for all football academies in Rwanda next month.
“The best players in the competition will have an opportunity to join Isonga Academy.
The competition will also be an opportunity to assess the 25 selected youngsters currently at the academy,” he added.
Players are under head coach Mohammed Nonde and Calliope Kabalisa the coach for goalkeepers.
Isonga was founded in 2011 as a composition of players, who played in the U-17 African Youth Championships and the FIFA World Cup. The team was promoted to the U-20 level and registered to play in the national league without going through the second division.
The youthful side participated in FERWAFA competitions for six years—last season Isonga qualified to the topflight division but eventually withdrew, which handed SC Kiyovu a second chance to stay in the Azam Rwanda Premier League despite being relegated at the end of last season.
Some big names in Rwanda football that went through Isonga include; Emery Bayisenge (Jeunesse sportive El Massira (JSM), Morocco) as well as Michel Rusheshangoga and Danny Usengimana, who both recently joined Tanzanian side Singida FC.
Others are Eric Rutanga, Djabel Manishimwe, François Mugisha, Abdul Rwatubyaye, Olivier Seif Niyonzima, Kevin Muhire and Thierry Manzi (Rayon Sports).
25 new players from local academies namely: Pacifique Cyiza (GS Kicukiro), Ramadhan Mupenzi (EPA St Michel), Eny Niyomugisha (E.P Tumba), Magnifique Cyubahiro (G.S Gitarama), Emmanuel Iradukunda (GS Nyarutovu), Zayidu Ishimwe (GS Kabare/Eastern), Clever Kazungu (GS Kabare/Eastern), Hesbon Rutonsesha (GS Gahurire/Eastern), Olivier Munezero (GS Mvumba/Eastern), Samuel Kalisa (E.S Rukara/Eastern), Enock Byiringiro (GS Kiziguro/Eastern) and Moussa Namahirwe (GS Kabuga/Kigali).
Others are Pacifique Tuyisenge (GS Kanombe/Kigali), Eric Niyonsenga (GS Gitarama/South), Hakim Itangishaka (GS Gacuba IIA/Western), Rodrigue Isingizwe (GS Gacuba IIA/Western), Mike Rwagasore (GS Nyagatare/Eastern), Yunusu Mwebaze (APECOM/Eastern), Olivier Sibomana (GS Kabare/Eastern), Felicien Niyomukiza (GS Kabare/Eastern), Kevin Mico Ndoli (GS Rukara/Eastern), Sugira Ruhumuriza (CGFK-Kicukiro/Kigali), Christian Ishimwe (GS Kabare/Eastern), Adolphe Hakizimana (GS Rwampara/Kigali) and Josue Habineza (GS Gacuba IIB/Western).