At least one team that once featured in Rwanda Premier League goes defunct every two years. Records indicate that 13 teams are now no-more in the last 26 years.
Defunct and ex-top tier league clubs are the ultimate guide for football supporters and historians as it contains information about teams that have ever graced the league but no longer do.
Many of them were relegated and never returned to the topflight league while others were disbanded due to financial constraints. It takes a certain degree of financial stability and business acumen to run a club smoothly and ensure self-sustainability.
The clubs that spend without any regard for long-term stability are usually forced to liquidate their assets and eventually end up bankrupt.
Though they no longer exist, some left behind records and memories in domestic football that will never be erased. But, three stand out – Atraco FC, Rwanda FC and Les Citadins.
Atraco, arguably Rwanda’s second most successful club of the 2000s, was dissolved in 2011 after winning the 2007-08 league title, the 2008-09 Peace Cup and the 2009 Cecafa Kagame Cup, which they clinched in Sudan after beating Sudanese side El Merreikh 1-0 in the final.
They also featured in the Caf Champions League once and twice in the Caf Confederation Cup. Before eventually claiming the Peace Cup, Atraco had lost the previous three finals to APR.
In the post-1994 era, after the Genocide against the Tutsi, only Atraco – a club of the Association of Transport Companies – has ever challenged APR and Rayon Sports for the league title.
Rwanda FC are another notable club that disappeared, just two years after winning the 1997 Peace Cup – formerly Rwandan Cup. They were part of the first division league between 1995 and 1999.
Les Citadins, an awe-inspiring youthful team ceased to exist in 2001, the same year they shocked local giants APR to lift the Peace Cup after edging the army side 6-5 in penalty shootouts.
While most teams closed shop due to financial struggles, Les Citadins were demolished after most of their players went AWOL while the team was on a trip to Europe.
With the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and most of the Rwanda Premier League clubs struggling to meet their financial obligations, including paying players and coaching staff, staying afloat is going to be a battle for the fittest.
Thirteen teams that went defunct in last 26 years
Rwanda FC (1999), Simba FC (2000), Les Citidins (2001), Umutara (2002), Leopards (2004), Mukungwa 408 (2005), Umurabyo (2007), Kist (2008), Military FC (2008), Eletrogaz (2009), Kibuye FC (2010), Atraco (2011) and Nyanza (2012).Follow https://twitter.com/pkamasa