APR grooming Rwanda’s next generation of players

AT this time of the season when everyone seems to be preoccupied by Rayon Sport’s thrust in bid to win their first silverware in nine years, I am personally thinking about the next generation of Rwandan football stars who will hold the mantle for the nation in different competitions.
Bonnie Mugabe
Bonnie Mugabe

AT this time of the season when everyone seems to be preoccupied by Rayon Sport’s thrust in bid to win their first silverware in nine years, I am personally thinking about the next generation of Rwandan football stars who will hold the mantle for the nation in different competitions.

Over the weekend at Stade de Kigali, the style in which APR FC claimed a 3-0 win over AS Kigali was something to reflect on and thank the club management for taking such a bold decision of choosing and giving exposure to young players, who would one day provide the spine of the greatest team in the country’s history.

The memories of the country’s goalscoring machine for both the national team and club, Jimmy Gatete are still fresh in everyone’s mind. But do you believe that we have another Gatete in the making in our own league? If you disagree, watch out for this amazing Maxime Sekamana.

Against AS Kigali, he scored the opening goal but what is more pleasing is the intelligence, pace and ability he uses to beat off his opponents.

With the club’s policy of featuring young Rwandan players, I definitely believe that APR FC will be a major football powerhouse in the coming season or two.

Nova Bayama, Emery Bayisenge, Michel Rusheshangonga and Andrew Buteera with the experience of Tumaine Ntamuhanga, Jean Claude Iranzi, Jean Claude Ndoli and Jean Baptist Mugiraneza command a kind of talent power that the club has yearned for in years.

With the right conditions and exposure, and the philosophy of German Coach Andreas Spier, results will not take years to show but the club will reap the benefits of this youth system in the long run.

To achieve long term excellent performances, we should not invest in eggs that can easily break. The biggest problem for Rwanda’s football has been quick fixation but remember a strong house can’t be built on a weak foundation.

What APR or any other club is trying to do [though we have a few clubs doing the same] is building a strong base upon which this success must be founded.

APR’s investment in youth structures is aimed at grooming the best products for the club and soon, the club will start reminding its enthusiasts of the success it last endured way back in 2004 when the club reached the third round of the CAF Champions League.

It is only patience that the club will demand from fans, who were used to regular success delivered by Congolese, Brazilians, Burundians and Ugandans. The difference this time round is that the club is set to enjoy long-term success initiated by Rwandan players.

Youth development should be the fundamental part of our coaching ethos and this philosophy can lead our teams to success, a thriving national league and national team.

I also believe the appointment of Andreas has added steel in the club. The football display, formation and determination to win has really defined the strength of club with three matches to the end of the season.

Even though the club is out of the league title race, it remains in contention for the Peace Cup.

Spier came to Rwanda in 2008 but had worked with the Germany football federation (DFB) in youth football development programs for over five years.

In Rwanda, he has managed the women national team before becoming the head coach of APR football academy that later changed its name to Intare FC and featured in the second division league.

Despite a series of disagreements on technical changes with former coach Eric Nshimiyimana, the German-born coach has proved that he still has much more in stock to deliver if given time since his native country has a rich history in working with the youth teams.

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