Why Lycée de Kigali has declined in sports

LYCEE de Kigali commonly known as LDK is one of the largest secondary schools in Kigali with over 1300 students.
LDK won this year's Coppa Coca Cola schools football tournament.
LDK won this year's Coppa Coca Cola schools football tournament.

LYCEE de Kigali commonly known as LDK is one of the largest secondary schools in Kigali with over 1300 students.

This school, one of the best in the country, towards the end of the 20th century and the beginning of 21st century with late headmaster Championnant Aimable, used to be the dominant fore in sports; but the same can’t be said under the current administration led by Martin M. Masabo.

But what has led to such a decline? Sunday Sport posed the question to the school’s sports master Wakilongo Essombo recently.

His repose was one would call obvious, “Apart from our permanent challenges of having less play grounds and so many students, even the system has changed. Back then, the school used to recruit some students on sports tickets, but that is not the case now. The important factor is academics.”

Asked why the change in attitude towards sports, he said, “We can’t recruit students who are poor academically but good in sports, but we offer other facilities to students willing to study and play for the pride of the school.”

“Whenever there is a competition and our school is going to take part, the school administration provides transport and also hire outside coaches for the respective teams,” he added

Essombo also noted that even though the schools no longer dominates the mainstream national inter-schools’ sports competitions, their O’level football team this year’s Coppa Coca-Cola tournament held in Musanze last month.

The basketball team reached the final and the schools’ volleyball and handball teams were eliminated in quarter-finals.

However, despite the focus now days being on academics more than sports, LDK has introduced a new sport of cricket.

The basketball team lost twice in a row on the inter-school’s championship finals in 2011 and 2012, while the cricket team also appeared twice on finals in 2009 and 2011.

Cricket in Lycée de Kigali officially started in 2007, started by one determined student called Derrick Bayingana with the help from Rwanda Cricket Association, who donated needed equipment to use. Afterwards the schools’ administration took over the team for full support.

Bayigana, who captained the pioneer team said, “In 2009 we finished second after losing to Association Don Bosco on final, in 2010 we were crowned champions of the Caissse Sociale tournament and again in 2011 we finished second after losing to Kagarama Secondary School on final.”

The current team captain Cheguevara Mazimpaka says, “The team is in good form, we have learnt a lot since the game started at schools and taking part in different competitions over the years, has given us good experience to be ready to win this year’s schools’ week in September.”

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