How foreign-based footballers are faring during Covid-19 pandemic

Abdul Rwatubyaye, a central defender with Colorado Springs Switchbacks, plays in the United States since early 2019. / Net.

With almost every football league around the world suspended since March due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it is certain that a number of Rwandan footballers who ply their trade abroad have been affected in one way or another.

Times Sport reached out to a number of foreign based players who shared with us their experience amid the difficult coronavirus plague.


Faustin Usengimana


Former Rayon Sports and APR centre-back, Faustin Usengimana, who plays for Zambia Premier League side Buildcon FC, told this publication that the league there is also at halt and all the players, as everybody else, are confined at their homes until further notice.


“[Here in Zambia] the league has come to a standstill, since March, and all the people are inside the homes. It has been a difficult time for me, and I believe for all players,” said the national team – Amavubi – star.

The 26-year old added: “Since the lockdown, I have been doing light home training to stay fit, but it definitely can’t be enough. It will require some intensive work to get to where I was before the pandemic.”

Emery Bayisenge

Bayisenge, also 26, who plays for Saif Sporting Club in the Bangladesh Premier League, and for the national team, is currently in Rwanda where he has been doing individual training as he waits for the pandemic to be defeated so he can link up with teammates in the South Asian country.

“I came back [in Rwanda] shortly before the outbreak and it was supposed to be a short stay,” says the former APR central defender. “So, it coincided with the fact that the Bangladesh league was immediately suspended when the Covid-19 entered the country, and I was forced to stay and train on my own until the danger is out.”

“The pandemic has affected players and clubs, it will take extraordinary effort to regain the level of fitness and financial positions that they had two months ago.”

Abdoul Rwatubyaye  

Rwatubyaye, a towering former defender for local giants APR and Rayon, currently features for Colorado Springs Switchbacks in the USL Championship, the second tier of the American soccer pyramid.

He says that, “Though we (players) are confined home, the coaches keep track of us and the kind of training we do daily. Regaining momentum will not be difficult after the pandemic.”

Early 2019, Rwatubyaye made history as the first Rwanda to play in the Major Soccer League (MLS), the U.S. top tier, when he was signed by Kansas KC from Rayon Sports.

Jacques Tuyisenge

Angolan side Petro de Luanda’s forward, Jacques Tuyisenge, who is also the second captain for the senior men’s national football team, says that what matters for him right now is to keep safe and urges everyone to do the same.

“Football, like everything else, does not come before health. Staying safe right now is the main thing,” said the former Police FC skipper. “While we are quarantined, I try to train at home to stay fit, but hopefully life will be back to normal after the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Last week, Angola became the second African country to cancel their domestic league with no title awarded and no relegation after Mauritius.

With just five rounds of the 30-game season, Petro de Luanda led the standings by three points, ahead of second-placed Primero de Agosto, but the latter had played one game less.

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