As we start another decade, it seems only right that we pay tribute to some of the great players that have brightened our local football scene in past the 10 years.
Here I’m talking about players that made the most contribution and had the most impact in the years 2000-2009.
I certainly welcome your views as you share this countdown.
GOALKEEPER: Ndoli, Jean Luc Ndayishimiye and Ramadhan Nkunzingoma can all have a claim for the for the decade’s golden gloves. But for me the trio has never been better, more committed and reliable, than Aime Ndizeye Ndanda. He has been an integral part to APR’s success for the best part of the ending decade.
RIGHT-BACK: Reckless living and injuries robbed APR and the national team of James Kayimba. Making his runs upfront made him one of the most reliable for club and country for a couple of years but he couldn’t hold down a regular spot at APR owing to his off-pitch record.
CENTRE-BACK: Saddou Boubakary since has move to APR he was a rock until he went haywire thanks to the promise of professional football in Spain. Currently playing in Libya, he has a few more seasons to make his mark.
CENTRE-BACK: His main attribute is his excellent tackling, Hamad Ndikumana a.k.a Katauti made his national league debut at Rayon Sport. He has since gone on to play professionally in Belgium and Cyprus.
LEFT-BACK: If Mwemere Ngirinshuti had fulfilled his full potential at APR, he would have dislodged, Elias Ntaganda from this list. However thanks to his ego, my pick is Ntaganda.
HOLDING -MIDFIELD: Abdul Uwimana, Jean Mugiraneza, Desire Mbonabucya, and Abdul Sibomana all would command regular football in most local teams.
But my choice is the current national team captain, Patrick Mutesa Mafisango.
ATTACKING MIDFIELD: Olivier Karekezi can’t be separated from the bad and good of Rwandan football of passing decade; Karekezi went on to play professional in Europe. He joined Norway premier league club Ham Kam after a long spell at Swedish side Helsingborg.
LEFT WING: He is hardworking, aggressive, passionate, fearless and simply magnificent on a given day. And his name is Haruna Niyonzima.
RIGHT WING: Vincent Kayizi is simply the best in this position to have graced the national league in the decade with each game for APR he was getting better. It was a surprise that his contract was not extended by the military side.
STRIKER: No doubt Jimmy Gatete had to make it to this list, at his prime he was a goalscoring machine for the national team and club. His intelligence, pace, and ability to beat off markers deserves a mention.
Referred to as ‘god of goals’ by the local fans, Jimmy is believed to be the most prolific striker Rwandan football has ever known. He scored crucial goals during the 2004 African Cup of Nations qualifications which saw Amavubi reach its first ever finals.
STRIKER: Although he was overshadowed by Gatete’s exploits, Said Abedi, at his peak, was the best predator to have featured on the local scene.
And with Gatete providing the deadly ammunition, Abedi would tear down any defence.
Abdul Uwimana, Manfred Kizito, Desire Mbonabucya, Alua Gaseruka, Mbuya Twite, Bokota Labama and Jean Luc Ndayishimiye.
COACH: Capt. Jean-Marie Ntagwabira
Love him or hate him, I don’t even need to explain, he’s arguably the greatest local coach of the last