Adolphe Mutoni’s journey from volleyball to business

The name Adolphe Mutoni needs no introduction in domestic volleyball. Ask him any question about Rwandan volleyball and he will give you answers off his fingers.

The 32-year old did not only play for and win titles with top clubs in the national volleyball league, but he also represented the country in various international competitions for a while.

 

He also played professional volleyball in Belgium from 2016 until last year. 

 

From a vastly experienced volleyballer, however, Mutoni has now turned to business and he is the owner of ViaVia Café-Resto located in Kibagabaga, Kigali.

 

For as far as he can remember, Mutoni has always been in sports. He started as a footballer, playing for Gicumbi (formerly Zebre FC) as a goalkeeper, before switching to volleyball when he joined Saint Joseph Kabgayi for his advanced level studies of high school in 2004.

Adolphe Mutoni, 32, won the 2010 national volleyball league title with University of Rwanda. File photo.

Two years later, in 2006, he made his league debut with now-defunct Amasata volleyball club and was one of the club’s key players that season. To his surprise, he also received his maiden call-up in the senior national team that traveled to France for a month-long training camp.

“2006 remains the biggest highlight of my volleyball career, being named on the national team that traveled to France was surprising and motivating,” a visibly smiling Mutoni told Weekend Sport in an exclusive interview as he recalled his breakthrough season.

Between 2007 and 2011, the retired right-attacker featured for the University of Rwanda (UR, formerly NUR) where he won several titles including the 2010 league title. He was also named the league’s player of the year in 2012.

Mutoni holds a Level One coaching license, which he earned in July 2019. Courtesy photo.

After graduating from university, Mutoni parted ways with NUR to join bitter rivals APR for the 2012/13 season and inspired the army side to the 2013 Carre d’As title, the second most important silverware in domestic volleyball. They also finished second in the league.

The following season, he crossed to UNIK where he had a difficult campaign with the Ngoma District-based outfit before he was signed by then newcomers Rayon Sports volleyball club for the 2014/15 season. He only won the Genocide Memorial Tournament with the star-studded Blues that had just signed many star players of the national team.

And, Rayon Sports, which was disbanded in 2016 after just two years of existence, is the last Rwandan club Mutoni featured for before signing with Belgium top tier side La Gentoise VB in 2016. For the next two years, he would play for second division outfit Gimme Waasland.

Mutoni played for the National University of Rwanda (NUR) between 2007 and 2012. File photo.

Asked if he has retired, Mutoni responded: “Not completely. I have retired from competitive volleyball, but I am still in the game. I want to continue contributing to volleyball development in the country, probably as a coach.”

Since March 2019, Mutoni, who holds a Level One coaching license, is into business and says that, at the moment, he only plays volleyball during his free time.

“Right now my focus is on the business, and [hopefully] I will succeed in this new field more than I did as a volleyball player.”

pkamasa@newtimesrwanda.com

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