Rayon return to training after cash row with players
AFTER two weeks of no training, six-time league champion Rayon Sports resumed drills yesterday, but not after agreeing to settle the unpaid salaries of the playing staff.
The Blues bosses led by city businessman Albert Rudatsimburwa have been involved in cash-row with senior players, who had snubbed training demanding to be paid two months of salary arrears.
Led by team captain Karim Nizigiyimana, senior players including Floribert Ndayisaba Tambwe, Cedric Hamis, Hussein Mbanze, Papy Kamanzi, Fuadi Ndayisenga and Bokota Labama had laid down their tools, and vowed never to return to training until their salaries are paid.
However, following protracted talks between the concerned parties, the players decided to return to training, more importantly as the club prepares for next week’s Primus league action against rivals SC Kiyovu.
However, midfielder Aphrodis Hategikimana Kanombe has gone AWOL, reportedly to search for “greener pastures” in Djibouti, while central defender Bonfils Twahirwa has expressed his desire to leave the club.
Other players, not in camp include striker Papy Kamanzi and Tanzanian born goalkeeper Juma Mpongo.
Nevertheless, head coach Jean Marie Ntagwabira said yesterday, “We are now okay and working hard for next week’s crunch game against SC Kiyovu.”
“I have a full team now and I believe the club management will sort out the pending issue of unpaid salaries as soon as possible,” added Ntagwabira.
Club Secretary Olivier Gakwaya told this paper yesterday, “We agreed to pay the salary arrears and we are working towards clearing this debt before the end of next week.”
Old wine, new bottle
Rayon, who started the season as APR’s main title challengers, have been struggling for form in recent league fixtures and sit in fifth position with 15 points in seven matches. Rayon last won the league title in 2005 under the guidance of popular coach Raoul Shungu.
Over the years, especially during the last five or so years, the club, with the largest fan base in the country, has been in the limelight on several occasions for failing to pay their players, something that has, more often than not, led to the continued trophy drought.
When Albert Rudatsimburwa, the proprietor of Contact FM, one of the leading private radio stations in the country, took over (other reports say he bought) the club, all the necessary noises were made regarding the club’s so called ‘renaissance’.
But, less than two years down the road, the club’s faithful, who thought that such things as players not being paid for two months were a thing of the past, must be going through a feeling of frustration, especially as their team continue to lag behind sworn enemy and 12-time league champions APR FC.