APR have continued to give a cold shoulder to Rwanda’s striker Elias Uzamukunda who has spent a whole month undergoing trials at French Ligue 2 club FC Nantes.
Uzamukunda, who went for his second trial at Nantes on July 28, has been ignored by the APR management. No one at the club has made any follow up on the players since he went thus minimizing his chances of earning a professional contract.
For starters, Nantes got interested in Uzamukunda during the African Youth Championship where the striker was one of championship’s top performers despite Rwanda failing to go past the group stages.
After the championship, it even took just a short while for the striker to travel to France for his first trial in February, which he was reported to have passed.
At first, one APR official, who I’d prefer not to name confiscated the player’s air-ticket sent by Nantes and it took intervention from the clubs’ top administrators for him to get back the air ticket.
The player passed the first trials and the second last month, which he did under a new management [coaching staff] after the old regime changed following the club’s relegation to Ligue 2.
In the past three weeks, Uzamukunda has been featuring in the reserve team, scoring six goals in eight matches.
Last week, I had a length telephone conversation with the former AS Kigali striker and in the middle of our conversation; he asked me if I knew French defender Noe Pamarot, who once played for English side Portsmouth.
I asked him why? then he said, “I was given this defender to mark me in one of the trial matches, and I scored two goals in that match. After the match, he asked me where I come from.
“When I told him that I come from Rwanda, he asked where on earth this country is found.
He also asked me why I’m not being offered a contract to play in the senior team but I could not find a suitable answer to that question,” Uzamukunda said.
He admitted that he’s experiencing a psychological effect of not being offered a contract yet there are several players, who came after him who have been offered contracts to play for the first team.
“The players, who are being given contracts are not better than me but I’m wondering what’s happening. I am sort of stuck here with no one to push my case.”
Reading between the lines, you get a feeling that there is some bad politics going at Nantes, but I’m not going to blame the French club. My concern is, what is APR doing in these circumstances? Do they even know what’s going on with their player? My guess is no.
According to the player, ever since he went to France, APR have never bothered to get in touch with Nantes to know how the player is doing!
Can someone say that the ten-time national league champions really care about their players or they just pretend?
It seems as if the only thing they are interested in as far as Uzamukunda’s transfer to Nantes is concerned is the $100.000 they want in the player.
Unfortunately, chances are high that APR may not get even a single penny because Nantes are stalling on offering the player a professional contract as initially proposed, which makes a situation where they [APR] could end up losing both the money and the player, who is now a free agent after his contract with them expired last season.
On several occasions, APR officials have been reminded to follow up Uzamukunda’s issue, they’ve been offered personal contacts for Nantes’ technical director but nothing has been done to this day.
But as it has been the norm with Rwanda’s most successful club, every time they’re asked about Uzamukunda’s fate, they manage to come out with a good lie or fake responses that they are in contact with the French club and proving nothing to support their claims.
When APR’s so called recruitment team ran all over the city two years ago searching for Uzamukunda’s signature, which they easily secured at a reported cut fee of Rwf2 millions from AS Kigali where he was captain.
When the mighty APR want a player from any of their local rivals, they will do anything to get him but after they get what they want, they forget to handle it with care.
I fear the sort of treatment they’re offering Uzamukunda could come back to haunt them in their future recruitment drives.
APR should learn to buy players, especially the local players with a view to give them an opening to go and play professional football.
This way, all the parties involved stand to benefit, the players realize any footballer’s dream to play professionally, by selling the player, they [APR] get the money and last but not least, the national team, which is the epitome of Rwanda’s football becomes more competitive.
Only this way, shall we avoid relying on foreigners to play for our national team.