Rwanda’s all-time top marksman Jimmy Gatete is still strong and not yet decided to hang up his boots despite being out of favour with the current Amavubi Stars coaching staff.
In a candid conversation with Times Sport yesterday, the Rayon Sport striker whose club coach Raoul Shungu is national team assistant coach acknowledged that the idea of hanging up his playing boots has not crossed his mind whatsoever.
“Retiring from football depends on many factors like health and ability but in my case I’m still strong and able to play at any level,” Gatete said.
Gatete, 28, who earned the nickname ‘god of goals’ a couple of years ago by the local fans for his goal scoring prowess, is believed to be the most prolific striker Rwandan football has ever known.
He scored crucial goals during the 2004 African Cup of Nations qualifications which saw Rwanda reach her first ever Africa Nations Cup finals.
The most celebrated goal in Rwandan history is most probably his goal against the Black Stars of Ghana in March 2003 which led to Rwanda’s 1-0 win and handed them their ticket to Tunis the following year.
The Amavubi Stars has struggled to score goals without him but the striker’s off form problems which forced APR to part ways with him in 2007.
Since joining APR’s bitterest rivals Rayon Sport for a second spell, the born-again striker has failed to impress national team coach Branko Tucak, who has not considered him for the 2010 World/Africa Cup qualifiers.
Despite his vast experience and pedigree as the country’s best natural goal getter, the former Mukura loanee continues to be overlooked by Tucak and Shungu in favour of younger, less experienced and less prolific strikers like APR’s Elias Uzamukunda, AS-Kigali’s Papy Gasana.
Gatete last appeared for the national team during the Amavubi CHAN game against Sudan in Khartoum early last year.