20 January 2013

Rwanda: Rayon Revival Delights Gomes

Didier Gomes da Rosa was always steadfast in the belief he would turn Rayon Sport's fortunes around after a faltering start to the Primus National Football League.

The Frenchman arrived with the Blues in all sorts of problems. At the time, Rayon was on a run of four defeats and two wins; the club's worst start to a league campaign.

Ali Bizimungu, who had replaced Jean Marie Ntagwabira as head coach towards the end of last season, was struggling to find the right combination prompting the club to move swiftly for the services of the little known 43-year-old.

The move was vilified by a certain section of the press as well as the Blues' faithful but the club chairman Abdallah Murenzi stood by his man.

Following the patchy start, Gomes had to hit the ground running and he did just that with a timely 3-1 win over historic rivals Kiyovu. The Green baggies matched into the contest with a healthy nine-point lead over the blues but that counted for nothing as Gomes orchestrated a great win.

Amavubi international Jerome Sina was the difference between the two sides as his hat-trick downed Jean Baptiste Kayiranga's side.

Rayon followed up this victory with a run for successive wins against Isonga (2-0), Etincelles (3-2), Muhanga (3-1), and Musanze (3-2) before settling for a 2-all draw in the final match of 2012 against arch-rivals APR.

Their final match of the first round ended in a 3-0 win over Espoir to propel them into third place with 25points; just a point adrift of table leaders Kiyovu.

"I have never doubted my abilities, I always trusted them," Gomes said. "It's funny how things change so dramatically. The league is completely unpredictable. We started the season (badly). We are now third from the top. You have to perform at this level. These are still early days but I'm happy with the way the guys fought back."

"We want to cement our position at the top because we understand that being at the top can drive our ambitions upwards," Gomes said. "We have won six of our last seven matches which is a great run at this level."

"We understand that we fought back well after a horrible start but we still have the entire second round to negotiate."

More than anything, Gomes has instilled belief in his players. "There is great confidence in the dressing room. Everyone believes that we can win everyone which is a great attitude to have in a team," Gomes added.

Since 2004 when they won their last league title, the club had resorted to a conservative approach following APR's continued dominance but Gomes has proved that he is the right man to lead Rayon forward.

Right now, the team is a joy to watch; they play with great assertion, style, fluidity and confidence; something which has been lacking.

Despite a good start to his Rayon career, Gomes, who signed a one-year renewable contract, does not need to be reminded that the job is far from done.

According to the club's Secretary General Olivier Gakwaya, Gomes' contract extension depends on how well the team fairs. "His task is very clear; to win the league or Peace Cup because the club's target is to play continental football next sea son and the only way of realizing this goal is if the club wins one of the two events," he said.


Rayon 1-2 Amagaju

AS Kigali 3-1 Rayon

Rayon 0-1 La Jeunesse

Marines 0-1 Rayon

Rayon 2-0 Police

Mukura 2-1 Rayon

Since Gomes's arrival

Rayon 3-1 Kiyovu

Isonga 0-2 Rayon

Rayon 3-2 Etincelles

Muhanga 1-3 Rayon

Rayon 3-2 Musanze

Rayon 2-2 APR

Espoir 0-3 Rayon


League titles (6): 1975, 1981, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2004

Peace Cup (8): 1976, 1979, 1982, 1989, 1993, 1995, 1998, 2005

Cecafa Kagame Cup (1): 1998

Copyright © 2013 Rwanda Focus. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.