As the March 31 Rwanda Football Association (FERWAFA) presidential elections draw closer, the leading candidate, Brig. Gen. (retired) Jean Damascène Sekamana, has outlined the five things he would focus on, if he beats his rival Louis Rurangirwa.
Two candidates were approved last week to contest for the presidency of Rwandan football governing body to replace Vincent Nzamwita, who opted out of seeking of a second term citing personal reasons.
Sekamana who has previously served as the president of Azam Rwanda Premier League club SC Kiyovu and later vice president of Bugesera FC, another topflight division outfit, is currently the vice president of second division cub Intare FC.
Rurangirwa, a former referee, joined the race on recommendation of the Rwanda Referees Association (ARAF).
FERWAFA presidential elections were initially supposed to take place on September 30, 2017 but were put on hold a week earlier after FIFA instructed the federation to review irregularities and the electoral code which had been violated in the process.
After addressing the indiscretions, the dramatic polls were held on December 30 at Lemigo Hotel but sole candidate Félicité Rwemalika failed to garner majority votes, which would have made her the first woman to lead the local football governing body.
She only managed to get 16 out of 52 votes in the general assembly.
The entire exercise was marred by controversy following by a decision by over 30 members to spoil their votes intentionally because their preferred candidate, Nzamwita (the outgoing president), pulled out of the race a few hours to voting.
Subsequently, the elections were pushed further and the outgoing executive committee was mandated to stay in power until fresh elections are organized.
Last month, the electoral commission announced the elections will be held on March 31. Two candidates; Sekanama and former Rwanda international referee Rurangirwa are vying for the position.
Saturday Sport talked to the retired General about his plans and what he thinks are the key areas where, if elected, will focus most during his term of office.
Below are the five key areas of focus that Sekamana plans to put emphasise on as he looks to transform Rwandan football in a post – Nzamwita era.
1. The development of grassroots level and women’s football
Among his top priorities if elected Ferwafa president, Sekamana says he will put in place clear legal framework and supporting regulations to advance women’s football and systematically build the local football from grassroots level, in a sustainable manner.
He plans to push for the establishment of more football centres and effective use the existing ones as well as the involvement of parents in allowing children, supporting and following them up to excel both at school and in football.
Another area Sekamana eyes to focus on is to organize children’s and youth competitions in all regions of the country, and encourage all league sides to have junior teams, which will lead to strong U-17, U-20 and U-23 teams representing the country in various international competitions.
The former SC Kiyovu president also looks to avail platforms for capacity building of referees and coaches.
2. Professionalism and harmonisation in organising competitions
Given that there are still insufficient football grounds; Sekamana considers making one match round a three days rather than two days as a good alternative for teams to share the facilities. If passed, weekend matches would start from Friday and end on Sunday.
Also to allow a seamless and harmonized working environment, Sekamana roots for Ferwafa to plan seasonal rosters to run within the CECAFA, CAF and FIFA competition calendars.
Prior to the start of the season, league clubs will be obliged to present their home and away kits.
Also, new technologies will be acquired to prevent cheating and avoidable irregularities in offering licenses to players and having their real and up-to-date detailed information.
Transparency in information sharing and efficiency of the Ferwafa website and social media platforms will also be improved. Sekamana also seeks to establish regular championships for U-15, U-17 and U-20 teams.
Apart from league teams that have their own vehicles, Sekamana says that, under his leadership, he will propose that one company be contracted to transport teams to and from league matches and other Ferwafa competitions. Which he finds easier, more efficient and less expensive.
3. Clean financial management and transparency
If entrusted to lead Ferwafa come March 31, Sekamana craves to paying off the football house’s debts among his key priorities, and inspire accountability. He says members deserve to know how finances are utilised and enjoy shared opportunities equitably.
A lot of efforts will be invested in marketing and looking for partners and sponsors for different Ferwafa competitions. Regular reports and records will be kept and shared to all relevant stakeholders in order to make accountability a key pillar under his leadership.
4. Overhauling legal framework
While football evolves, Sekamana also finds it important that some Ferwafa’s laws and guidelines, including the constitution, be updated to make them relevant, to avoid the now-and-then misunderstandings and disputes that have been noted in the past.
He will also encourage, and support where possible, all league participants to acquire permanent legal status. Sekamana has also vowed to do yearly work plan and yearly reports on what has been accomplished and what was not, explain why it was not and the way forward.
Tipped by many as the man to overhaul what has been spoilt under Nzabamwita’s tenure, Sekamana looks forward to landing new partnerships and maintaining the existing ones to construct new football infrastructures and renovate substandard ones.