Last month a new leadership team was elected into office at the Rwanda Football Federation, Ferwafa, replacing an interim committee that had been in charge for two years.
The new administration came in at a critical moment in Rwanda’s football with the country performing dismally in Fifa world rankings, but most importantly, on the field of play with possibly the worst poor run of results both at country and club level in years.
The new Ferwafa leadership also came at a time when the country is gearing up to host the 2016 African Nations Championships, with the new FA head, Vincent De Gaule Nzamwita last week receiving Caf flag, on behalf of Rwanda as next hosts, at the just-concluded 2014 Chan edition in South Africa.
Although not so much in terms of constructing or refurbishing stadiums is ongoing on the ground, it is expected that Nzamwita and co. as well as football stakeholders will soon get preoccupied with preparations to ensure a successful tournament.
We wish them the best and hope that we will replicate the past success when we hosted the U-20 and U-17 Afcon editions.
Nonetheless, besides the quest for a successful 2016 Chan edition, local football administrators will need to immediately get their hands dirty by ensuring that clubs and football affairs in general are run professionally.
A recent case involving the controversial transfer to Police FC of former Rayon Sports playmaker Jerome Sina was a bitter reminder of the scandalous dealings and high levels of unprofessionalism that still exist in Rwanda’s football.
Even as the player unceremoniously left Rayon in 2012 before the expiry of his contract with the club and then moved on to feature for a Congolese side, he could not be held accountable for his previous misconduct largely because his arrival at Rayon did not follow Fifa transfer rules either.
Neither Rayon nor Ferwafa could provide evidence that Sina’s 2009 move from DC Virunga to Rayon Sports was conducted through the Fifa-sanctioned online based Transfer Matching System (TMS).
It is a shame that such things are still happening in our football with those involved walking scot-free.
Nzamwita and his team will need to urgently stamp authority and put an end to such kind of amateur practices and irregularities, and professionalise the game. That will help turn a new page for Rwanda’s football.
But before doing so, Ferwafa will itself need to urgently acquire legal status as required by rules and operate professionally, otherwise it lacks the legitimacy to raise the bar and crack the whip when necessary.