THE death of Jean de Dieu Nizeyimana, basketball coach of high caliber, has unkindly struck us. The death has robbed us of a great sports personality and a left a gigantic void in the sports fraternity, particularly basketball.
The late will be deeply missed as a caring parent, a lovely brother, a true friend, an administrator of high integrity and an extrovert. The late has left a huge void in his particular family and sports family. He was a man committed to his passion for basketball and that was indeed visible until his last hours of breathing.
He terribly collapsed due to blood circulation failure immediately after taking his basketball club through drills at Lycee de Kigali on unfortunate Monday evening before breathing his last on Tuesday night at King Fayscal Hospital.
He was such a unique basketball coach who never intended to earn a living from his profession and talent as a coach. He always volunteered his efforts to develop the sport at no cost for himself and instead shared his small financial muscle with other friends of basketball in attempt to hone talents in this country.
Those who studied at Lycee de Kigali will always remember late Nizeyimana a great man who performed magic to bring a college school team into the national basketball league in late 90s. Even when the school management could no longer sustain the team full of talents, he never threw in a towel.
He changed the club’s name to Generation 2000, which attracted sympathy from Kigali city authority and subsequently earned mayor’s patronage and also led to a new club name – Kigali City Basketball Club (KCBC).
It never took long though for Kigali city authority to throw in a towel as the bankroller. The late never let this fallout deter his commitment to coaching and running the club. He scratched his head, mobilized a few basketball friends and decided to keep it going under a new name –Basketball United Generation.
It’s pretty heartbreaking that Nizeyimana is dead on the arrival of a strong club standing as a result of his hard work. His tremendous work at the Rwanda basketball federation as a technical director and national team coach is too huge for description.
The federation and national team benefited a lot from his outstanding administrative skills and his magic eye for superb talents as well as his ability to create a formidable teamwork within a not so long period of time.
He will always be remembered for Rwanda’s maiden qualification to the just concluded Africa Basketball Nations Cup in the Angolan capital, Luanda.
He laboured to scout for Rwandese talents abroad and managed to bring them home a move that threw Rwanda on map.
Talking to players who have worked under him will tell you that the man was a basketball messiah who used to look at things from different angles off and on court.
At 41, a sportsman is very young. We were just yet to see a lot from you. We have been robbed. We will miss you terribly. Your services and passion displayed in the development of Rwandan basketball were impeccable.
Your integrity and dedication to developing sports will always live on our mind. We admired your personality and we will always be inspired by your work in the sports fraternity.
May his soul rest in eternal peace. One thing for sure, our heavenly father will continue pouring his tender love unto you as well as providing to your family left.