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Sports Ministry mulls ambitious plan to unearth, nurture talent

The revamped Isonga programme will not only have football, but also include basketball and volleyball among other sports. There will be a centre of excellence in each of the 30 districts in the country. Net

The Ministry of Sports has said that it is mulling new plans to unearth and nurture sports talent in the country.

The plan is to revisit and repackage the idea behind the creation of Isonga Football Academy, which went dysfunctional in 2018.


Arguably one of the biggest football projects in the country, Isonga is credited for having brought forth big names of the last decade such as Emery Bayisenge, Michel Rusheshangoga, Dany Usengimana, Eric Rutanga, Djabel Manishimwe and Kevin Muhire to name a few.


It is also thanks to the academy that Rwanda – against all odds – qualified and competed at the 2011 Fifa U17 World Cup in Mexico after finishing second in the Africa Cup of Nations.


Provisions are underway to establish something again in those lines, though not exactly the same.

Speaking to Times Sport over the weekend, Guy Rurangayire, the acting Director of Sports at the Ministry for Sports said that the new programme will change not only to include football but also basketball and volleyball among other sports.

He also noted that the programme will be available in all the 30 districts of the country, as opposed to the repealed Isonga academy that was only based in the capital.

“Previously we used to take only about 30 young players, now we have changed the way it is done. We want to have a center of excellence in each district. Here, we will provide good coaches and equipment for the young talents to be nurtured,” he said.

“We expect that these games will include football, volleyball and basketball then progressively expand our activities as we go.”

Each district will have at least a school where the new Isonga programme will be rolled out, and the ministry will allocate a budget to the centres on top of giving equipment and deploying coaches.

According to Rurangayire, the ministry will work with about 60 schools, and it may commence with the reopening of schools in September.

The original Isonga project had a budget of about Rwf80 million every year.

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