News that Jimmy Gatete has signed, or is about to sign for Ethiopia’s moneybags St George has taken everyone by surprise, not very many apart from the man himself, saw this one coming.
In a season in which the Amavubi Stars legend had so much to prove than possibly gain after his equally shock move from Rayon Sport to Police Fc.
I must admit I was one of those who suggested then that the Rwandan international was better off quitting the game than playing for a mid-table side. My argument was that, at Police, he would not have the motivation to compete at a high level.
When the striker was released by APR just over two years ago when the military side made that infamous overhaul in which 90 percent of the first team was released, he joined APR’s main rivals Rayon on a two-year deal for what was his second spell at the club.
He was being paid a reported Frw0.5 millions per month but injuries and poor form restricted his playing time in the first season, something that the club managers used to cut his salary by a certain percentage.
He complained silently because he needed an employment yet no one was ready to give him an escape route.
I expected that to be his last-day pay cheque after which he would either retire and do something else for a living or go into coaching. I was mistaken, just like most of his critics.
Gatete’s move to St George is a shocker, am sure even the player himself hasn’t come to terms with the fact he’s actually going to play at the highest level once again, but most importantly that he has landed the last opportunity to make a better last-day pay cheque.
When Rayon refused to give him a new contract, it was AS Kigali, then coached by Gatete’s former team mate Eric Nshimiyimana who expressed interest in the player; he trained with them but before a deal was reached, the more ambitious Police stepped in and eventually hijacked his signature.
It was a blow for Nshimiyimana, who after confirming the capture of his former APR and Amavubi Stars team mate, could do nothing when Police came up with a better offer, and for a man looking for a last-day pay cheque, you wonder whether he had a second thought about were he play his football this season.
Yet, a move which first appeared as an April 1 Fools’ day rumour, turned out to be true and not only that but it has turned out to be one that brought Gatete the chance to join a big, rich and famous club as St George.
Reports say Police received $10.000 (about Frw5.7M) from the sell of Gatete, which is a very shrewd business considering that they got him on a free transfer and offered a monthly salary of about Frw0.35 million.
Now that Gatete has found himself a club to play professional football, we can talk about his numerous failed attempts in Germany, Belgium and South Africa, where he had a brief spell with second division side Maritzburg United after the 2004 Nations Cup in Tunisia.
At 28, Gatete still has something to offer or else St George, even with all their monies, would not spend $10.000 on a player they don’t value highly.
Maybe former APR goalkeeper Aime Ndizeye aka Ndanda played a role in convincing Serbian coach Sredejovic “Micho” Milutin of Gatete’s potential to produce the goods for the wealthy club.
The striker will find a familiar face in Ndanda at the club, who will help him to settle a lot quicker, someone they can hold a conversation in the same language and because you always don’t know what to expect from him, Gatete could beat more odds and go on to shine for St George in CAF competitions.
However, on the sad side of his shock move, it came at a time when the national team authorities have closed the door on all the veteran players which means it’s a shame he may not play for his country again however well he does at the Addis Ababa based club.