FORMER AMAVUBI captain Hamad ‘Katauti’ Ndikumana has joined Rusizi-based first division football club Espoir for a one-year contract.
The club’s head coach Alphonse Gatera confirmed the development earlier this week after assessing the player in the just-concluded 2014 Cecafa Kagame Cup where Katauti featured for former champions Vital’O of Burundi.
“Katauti has joined our club. He is an experienced player who besides, guiding Rwanda to 2004 Africa Nations Cup finals, played a leading role for Vital’O scoring one goal in three matches,” Gatera said.
At Espoir, Katauti reunites with fellow 2004 Afcon Rwanda internationals Said Abedi Makasi and Elias Ntaganda.
In 2012, Katauti, 35, played for Rayon Sports under the tutelage of Jean Marie Ntagwabira before heading to Burundi where he struggled to gain his form until a few months back when former SC Kiyovu coach Gilbert Kanyankole came calling and included him in the squad for the regional club tournament.
Known for hard and effective tackles, Katauti has played for several European clubs such as Anorthosis, KV Mechelen, APOP Kinyras Peyias, Nea Salamina, KAA Gent and AC Omonia.
The former Rwanda captain helped Rwanda reach the African Cup of Nations 2004 for the first time in history and was believed to be country’s best player at the tournament.
Since Rwanda's 1-0 home defeat to Angola in the 2006 World Cup qualifiers, he has never been called back into the national squad after claims that he helped Angola win the game, and consequently qualified for their maiden World Cup finals – the same year.
Espoir, who are strengthening their team ahead of the new season, are also reported to be in talks with midfielder Tuyisenge Pekeyake (Vital’O) and striker Nasser Irakoze (AS Muhanga), and goalkeeper Andre Mazimpaka (Vital’O).
The Western Province outfit, who finished sixth last season, are scheduled to play Ibanda Sport of DR Congo on Thursday in a pre-season friendly. The 2014/15 National Football league is scheduled to start on September 20.