Rayon Sports made history on Wednesday after progressing to the CAF Confederation Cup group stage and they deserve a round of applause for flying the country’s flag high.
The CAF Confederation Cup is not an ordinary football competition; the fact is that stakes are high given the cash prizes at stake along each stage.
What other local clubs should comprehend is to keep up with the continental best they need to invest in football development.
It may be a sport but this is also serious business in every sense of the word, this is a reason why clubs like South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundown which beat Rayon in CAF Champions League are the 2016 continental champions.
Of course, we have other local clubs which invest profoundly each season, in search of success while others are struggling to pay player and coach wages.
At the moment, going by the results, Rayon seem to have understood the game plan. Qualifying for group stage is a process.
APR FC has attempted many times, however keeping up with the continent’s best will mean the military side should take into consideration the strategy of limiting themselves by embarking only on homegrown talent.
The policy has its own advantages of which it benefits the national team as well as its disadvantages. When it comes to CAF competitions, you have the option of licensing more foreign players to help perform better on the continent.
That is what Rayon promised the fans, indeed this season they signed Ugandan forward Yassin Mugume, acquired Cameroonian international striker, Christ Mbondi on a one year deal on top of Malian striker Ismail Diarra and Burundi’s Shaban Hussein ‘Tchabalala’.
Last season, Sashiri Nahimana plus Pierrot Kwizera, from Burundi, helped the club to the title. Ideally, they are not the best but the squad is balanced with homegrown talent.
Of course don’t forget Rayon’s Fan Club, the optimism and unwavering support from the fans means some good gate collections on a match day.
The other aspect is the influence of foreign coaches; Djuma Masudi laid the platform, leading the club to the Peace Cup title for the top of the league title.
Belgian tactician Ivan Minneart coached the club during the 2015/16 league season, and leading them to the group stage will mean they will gain the exposure and experience of knocking on the CAF competition door.
The financial support from the corporate sponsors Skol and Feza Bet is the other aspect that has also boosted the club financial confers. At least for now, we can’t hear players lamenting about wage arrears.
For now, Rayon Sports have qualified, so what do other clubs need to do in order to seriously compete at the continental stage.
For APR FC, it’s time to revise their home based policy. The same should be done by Police FC.
For the other clubs which are sponsored by districts where they are located, which is a shame, you can’t keep up with the Africa’s best when you still depend on handouts to compete in football.
For Rayon, isn’t time you thought about an academy?