Mutsinzi: The rise of Rayon & Amavubi towering defender

Ange Mutsinzi celebrates with Rayon Sports teammates Jonathan Rafael da Silva (C) and Hussein Habimana (R) after the lone goal that sank AS Kigali in Peace Cup on Tuesday. Sam Ngendahimana.

The meteoric rise of Ange Mutsinzi is a dream come true for aspiring young footballers. In a space of only three years, he has grown from an unknown teenager to one of the best defenders in the country.

At just 21, Mutsinzi has already won two league titles and played quarter-finals of the CAF Confederation Cup – all with Rayon Sports.

Currently a free agent, the towering central defender is touted for a move to APR for a fee in the region of Rwf12million, and a monthly salary of Rwf700,000, plus bonuses.

Mutsinzi, who looked up to late Bonaventure ‘Gangi’ Hategekimana as a great defender and leader on the pitch, is the third child from Leopold Dusabeyezu and Theresa Mukarugero’s family of seven – four boys and three girls.

Ange Mutsinzi, who has won two league titles with Rayon Sports, made his international debut in 2016 and has since represented the country on several occasions at various levels. Sam Ngendahimana.

Born on November 15, 1997 in Byimana, Ruhango District, the former AS Muhanga defender holds a secondary school completion certificate, in construction, from ETEKA Muhanga, which he earned in 2017. He is yet to enroll to university.

On global stage, he draws inspiration from Real Madrid skipper Sergio Ramos and Liverpool kingpin Virgil van Dijk.

Mutsinzi says that he has been into football since childhood, but admits he never thought he would make it to the top of the game in the country.

“I had nothing special – or a particular influence – but the love and passion for the game. However, I honestly never thought I would be where I am right now,” he told Saturday Sport during an exclusive interview on Thursday.

“I just followed my heart, and hard work paid off.”

He signed his first contract, at the age 16, with second division side United Stars in 2013, and would only spend there one season before crossing to AS Muhanga, also in the second tier league, for the next (2014/2015) season and helped the club to earn promotion back to the topflight league.

After an impressive year with AS Muhanga in the Azam Rwanda Premier League, during the 2015-16 season, Mutsinzi was sought after by a number of top clubs all with enticing offers, but the then 18-year old youngster opted for ‘dream-come-true’ move to Rayon Sports.

“When Rayon came knocking, the decision was easy for me to make. Playing for a club I loved since boyhood was a dream-come-true opportunity.”

MAJOR HONORS

Mutsinzi joined the Blues in July 2016 on a two-year contract, and when it expired last year, he extended it by one year.

However, following the arrival of former Mukura centre-back Saidi Iragire on Thursday, it is unlikely that Mutsinzi will stay on and fight for a starting position next season.

During his three years with Rayon Sports, he helped the club to clinch two league titles – for the 2016-17 and the recent 2018-19 seasons – and most memorably, he helped them to reach the round of last eight in the 2018 CAF Confederation Cup.

It was the first time for any Rwandan side to reach knock-out stages in CAF competitions.

NEXT STEP

“I think it’s time for a new challenge.”

The versatile defender confessed that he loves – and has always loved – Rayon, and the club will always be close to his heart, but “change and growth is inevitable. It’s important that I also go elsewhere, face new challenges and live new experiences.”

However, he also did not rule out a possibility to extend his spell with the reigning champions if his demands for a new deal are met.

According to reports, record 17-time champions APR have held preliminary talks with the player and are willing to spend Rwf12 million for the player on a two-year – renewable – deal.

Speaking to this publication in separate interviews on Friday, neither APR Secretary General Adolphe Kalisa nor Mutsinzi confirmed or denied the transfer talks.

NATIONAL TEAMS

Mutsinzi’s quick rise to stardom was met by quick spotting from the national teams technical staff. He was called up to the U20 team shortly before his 2016 Rayon Sports signing, and has since featured for the junior, Olympic (U23) and senior Amavubi teams.

Among other competitions, he has represented the country in qualifiers for; the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), the African Nations Championships (CHAN), and the 2020 Olympic Games.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com 

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