Local footballers form professional association

Local footballers have created a professional body, the Rwanda Football Players Organisation (RFPO), aimed at promoting members’ interests and welfare during and after their playing career.
Amavubi captain Haruna Niyonzima, left, and his assistant, Jean Baptiste Mugiraneza, have welcomed the formation of the players' association. T. Kisambira
Amavubi captain Haruna Niyonzima, left, and his assistant, Jean Baptiste Mugiraneza, have welcomed the formation of the players' association. T. Kisambira

Local footballers have created a professional body, the Rwanda Football Players Organisation (RFPO), aimed at promoting members’ interests and welfare during and after their playing career.

RFPO’s objectives include negotiating the working conditions and rights of members through collective bargaining agreements with employers.

The association is currently headed by Philbert Mucyo, who is deputised by Maitre Emile Ngiruwonsanga and AS Kigali central defender Patrick Umwungeri, who represents players.

In an interview with Times Sport, Mucyo said they came up with the idea because they wanted to solve some problems players face in their contracts and other challenges related to football.

He noted that RFPO will also look for education opportunities for current and former players, promote rehabilitation of injured members, and organise the player of the year awards, among other activities.

He added that the association will bring together members to discuss their problems, enhance skills and help promote solidarity among members.

“This will specially be helpful in case a player wants to sign a new or extend an existing contract. The association will play an advocacy role,” Mucyo said.

Mucyo said they were in the process of registering the new body as a legal entity.

Amavubi Stars captain Haruna Niyonzima says the professional grouping is a key vehicle towards addressing some of the pertinent issues local players face.  “This will benefit players, especially on matters regarding club contracts,” said the Young African playmaker.

Jean Baptist Mugiraneza, the APR and Amavubi midfielder, said, “This is good news for us players, and I think we will all benefit from the association, since it is all about us.”

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