Family Affair: Rwanda’s 5 famous sibling sports stars

Muhadjiri Hakizimana (L) and Haruna Niyonzima are teammates in the national team, Amavubi, and both previously played for and won several titles with local giants APR. / File photo.

Having a brother is a good thing but having one you share the same interests and hobbies, more so in sport, is more amazing.

The world has seen a number of examples of how a particular sport can become family business. Prominent international examples can include the Williams sisters – Venus and Serena – in tennis and the Toures – Kolo and Yaya – for football, to name a few.

 

On domestic scene, Rwanda also got families that have produced siblings who have made a mark in different sports, having played – or still playing – at the biggest stage and established formidable careers at club level and the national team.

 

Times Sport looks at five most famous of the country’s sibling sports stars;

 

Haruna and Muhadjiri

Haruna Niyonzima is a household name in local football. For nearly a decade, he has captained the national football team – Amavubi, in addition to making great impact at club level where he has featured for Rayon Sports and APR, in Rwanda, as well as Tanzania’s two biggest sides Simba SC and Young Africans.

The playmaker, one of the most decorated players in the region still in the game, made history last year when he became the first player to win the Tanzania Premier League title five consecutive seasons, having won it three times in a row with Young Africans, between 2015 and 2017, before helping Simba SC to lift the title in 2017/2018 and 2018/2019 seasons.

Prior to his 2011 move to Young Africans, commonly referred to as Yanga, Haruna had previously featured for Rayon for two years (2006-2007) before crossing to rivals APR where he played, from late 2007, and won several titles – including the 2010 CECAFA Kagame Cup.

Niyonzima is the elder brother to Muhadjiri Hakizimana, a relatively young but prominent midfielder that has for the last few years been rising to establish himself among Rwanda’s best currently.

Last year, he completed a record move from APR to Emirates Football Club in the United Arab Emirates, after he had consistently been one of the best players in Rwanda Premier League.

He was the league’s player of the year for the 2017/2018 season. 

Abouba, Ombolenga, Yamin and Yunusu

Another family that can’t miss on the list is this one! Four footballing brothers in Abouba Sibomana (currently without a club), Fitina Ombolenga and Yunusu Nshimiyimana (APR), and Salum Yasini (Gasogi United).

Sibomana is the eldest of the four and the most outstanding – sportswise, having featured for Rayon Sports, Kenyan giants Gor Mahia, Wazito football club, and national team Amavubi.

A crispy left back, Sibomana is widely seen a one of the best at his position the country has had in the last ten or so years.

Ombolenga, who is next to Sibomana, is another star name both at APR and with the national team. He and Nshimiyimana are teammates at APR, while Yamini features for topflight league debutants Gasogi United.

Marshall, Sibomana and Masezerano

The trio make what is admired by many as a perfect volleyball family.

Currently the head coach of two-time Rwandan champions Gisagara volleyball club, Pierre Marshall Kwizera was one of the best players of his generation until his retirement last year.

During his 14-year glittering career, Kwizera won several titles with different clubs and was also instrumental in the national team between 2006 and 2017 when he retired from international volleyball.

And, his two younger brothers followed in his footsteps. Jean Paul Sibomana plays for UTB while Claude Munezero features for former local giants APR volleyball club.

Kavalo and Flavien

The two brothers, Kavalo Patrick Akumuntu and Flavien Ndamukunda, are not only teammates at Gisagara volleyball club, but they also play an integral role in the men’s senior national team.

Akumuntu, 28, is also a beach volleyball star having scooped a bronze medal at the 2019 All-Africa Games in Morocco and represented Rwanda – and the continent – at the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Germany last year.

Ndamukunda inspired APR to three consecutive league titles between 2007 and 2009.

Kajeguhakwa and Elie Kaje

Bunene Kajekuhabwa, a former national basketball team player, and Elie Kaje are arguably the most famous – if not the only – brothers in the BK Basketball National League.

Kaje plays for Rwanda Energy Group (REG) and the national team, whereas Bunene is currently at league debutants Tigers basketball club.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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