Just before closure of the year 2010, local media was describing him as Rwanda’s Roman Abromavich.
Meaning that apart from being widely known as a local media guru in his capacity as a founder of one of Rwanda’s successful radio stations Contact FM, Albert Rudatsimburwa, can be said to be the new local football magnate after his dramatic takeover of Rayon Sports Club, easily the oldest team within The Primus National Football League.
By staging the takeover of Rayon Sports which has a huge fan base and a myriad of problems to boot, Rudatsimburwa has added a new title to his impressive and lengthy CV.
He is an established social entrepreneur and artist, media owner, marketer of high repute and now football magnate.
Rayon Sports football club is not your average soccer club within the 12 teams playing in The Primus National League.
Established in 1965, and with over 4 national league titles to its credit and a single continental title, Rayon Sports can be described as “been there done that football club” in Rwanda. Despite having suffered a trophy drought for the last four years owing to a number of factors, Rayon Sports is still a club to reckon with.
That is if we consider that its arch rivals is the military side APR FC, currently Rwanda’s most successful club. The fact that Albert Rudatsimburwa has seen a golden opportunity to make a difference in terms of turning around the fortunes of Rayon Sports given its management challenges means many things to many people.
For one Rayon Sports will never be the same again. Gone are the days that its players would go for months on end without cash. That means that the stakes have been raised within the local soccer scene.
Other clubs are now expected to follow suit by trying to woo persons loaded with cash and expertise matching Rudatsimburwa’s profile to turn around the management of teams within the national league.
Yet another implication is that profit should be the main motive of running the football clubs rather than social responsibility as was the case before.
If Rudatsimburwa’s path is followed closely by other persons of similar calibre then the local football standards stand to benefit tremendously. Kudos Rudatsimburwa, for showing the local football fraternity the way to the Promised Land.