2009 Cecafa/Kagame Cup winners, Atraco Fc enjoyed a spectacular homecoming yesterday as hundreds of ecstatic supporters took to the streets of Kigali to salute their triumphant heroes.
Barely 48 hours after their historic 1-0 win over hosts and tournament favourites El Merreikh in Khartoum, Sudan, a Kenya Airways plane touched down at Kigali International Airport before the team’s captain Jean Shyaka emerged out holding the Cecafa/Kagame Cup trophy.
The rest of the squad followed him down the steps of the plane into the Airport building where they were greeted with a prolonged ovation from the FA boss Brig.
Gen. Jean Bosco Kazura and a number of cabinet ministers including Sports and Culture minister Joseph Habineza, Youth Minister Protais Mitali and Infrastructure Minister Linda Bihire.
Unable to hide his excitement after receiving a chorus of praise from the ministers, Coach Sam Timbe offered his appreciation to every one who stood by the club before, during and after the championship.
“I want to thank all those who worked in the background doing the thankless tasks and who looked after these guys (players) and stood by them in times of need,” the Ugandan-born tactician said.
“This is the happiest moment of my career. I bestow this trophy to my players who showed commitment in every game we played,”
“The way the players responded to Joseph Kabagambe’s scandal and defeats in our opening two group games was phenomenon,” he added.
Shyaka also had a chance to commend his team mates for sticking together and exhibiting good team work throughout the competition.
“This is historic and I want to thank my teammates and the coach for making it happen,” the former APR and SC Kiyovu midfielder said.
After winning the title with Uganda’s SC Villa (2005) and Police (2006), Timbe becomes the first man to win the regional club title with three different clubs.
Now with Kagame Cup in the bag; a treble looms for Atraco who are also well placed in the national league and MTN Peace Cup.