The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Vigule, the Unsung Hero of Rwandan Football

He is so unknown to the Rwandan football fraternity that even my editor had never heard of him until I came up with the story idea, but trainer Jitiada Mungo Vigule has done an unprecedented excellent job in developing Rubavu football-and maybe he deserves some recognition.

Vigule started to work with Rubavu football in 1982 and as of today, he is probably the most successful trainer in Rwandan football even though he is not well known, at least outside Rubavu district and its surrounding areas.

Recently Sunday Sport travelled to Rubavu for an exclusive interview with the man, who is credited for making some of the country's top football players, including Amavubi Stars vice captain Haruna Niyonzima

Having settled well in his role as one of the unsung heroes of Rwandan football, Vigule was happy to talk to someone from the press, expressing his satisfaction with his job and vowed to continue working with the rough diamond at the grassroots.

"I love to work with youth and football is my passion so what I do is just to teach them how to play and to be familiar in this game at a young age and after so many years of sacrifices, now I can say, my determination, commitment and hard work has paid off and l am happy with that," he said.

He added, "I feel good when I see my players progress in the game and I am delighted for them, some of them have tried to help me especially with balls and other things related to football."

Asked where he gets means to sustain his school, Vigule said from some of his former players and other well wishers, who appreciate his work.

"Like I have already said, football is my passion, I am happy with what I do and I will continue to help the young people as I find it my duty to help the aspiring young players," he explained.

'Best coach'

Amavubi midfielder, probably the country's most gifted players in the current regime, Niyonzima attributes his success, partly to Vigule, whom he describes as the "best coach" he has ever met, for, he was the man who taught him how to play football.

"He is our coach and we appreciate the work he has done over the years with the young players in Rubavu. He helped me become the player I am today, I can never forget him because I owe him a lot," the Yanga playmaker said of his youth coach.

Since starting his voluntary work of coaching young aspiring footballers from Rubavu District, formerly Gisenyi, Vigule has produced some high profile people in Rwandan football circles including; ex-Ferwafa vice president Védaste Kayiranga and Rubavu District Mayor Hassan Bahame.

Vigule's products

Others include; former La Jeunesse and Mukura coach Emmanuel Ruremesha, Etincelles coach Rajabu Bizumuremyi and former Kiyovu and Amavubi defender Léandre Bizagwira.

Some the current player, who have passed through Vigule's hands include; Haruna Muvunyi (Etincelles), Isonga defender Heritier Turatsinze, Yahya Serubungo, Junior Wasps skipper Emery Bayisenge, Police skipper Jean Bosco Uwacu, AS Kigali defender Soter Kayumba, Yves Karekezi and Salomon Nirisarike ( Antwerp Belgium).

Others are; Kiyovu winger Jabir Mutarambidwa, Jean Dieu Harora (Police), Amagaju's Saidi Ukizebaraza, Gabriel Mugabo (Mukura), Shadadi Ngabonzima (Etincelles), AS Kigali playmaker Hamidu Ndayisaba, Yahya Ugirumurengera (Police) and Jean Dieu Uwineza (La Jeunesse) as well as APR skipper Ismail Nshutinamagara.

And some of the ex-player, who Vigule taught how to play football include; Abdul Sibomana, Jean Remy Bitanabamwana, Jean Marie Vianney Shyaka, Abdallah Bishirandora, Saidi Ukizebaraza, Juma Bizimana.

Needs support

Does the national football federation, Ferwafa have any plans for the man, who has turned Rubavu into the 'Brazil of Rwanda'?

When contacted, Ferwafa chairman Celestin Ntagungira aka Abega said the federation supports whoever needs help to promote football at any level, so Vigule can't be singled out for special handling.

"We do help all instructors across the country because we need to promote more young players at the grassroots. We don't support just one person but all football instructors" Abega said.

Vigule, 55, played for Etincelles from 1978 to 1984 when he retired prematurely to concentrate on his coaching. He has four children from his late wife, who passed away in 2007, and in January 2013, he will get his retirement package after years of service with Bralirwa.

Etincelles chairman Christian Dukuze said, "We will do all we can to help him so that he continues to help the young players in Rubavu. He is well loved by everyone here in Rubavu for what he has done for the young players. He has done an exceptional job without expecting to be paid but this club (Etincelles) will be with him all the time."

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