25 February 2013

Rwanda: Financial Woes Chocking Kiyovu

Old habits die hard, goes the English adage and it appears as though SC Kiyovu's continuous financial troubles are threatening to tear the club apart, at least on the field.

The Green Baggies, under coach Jean Baptist Kayiranga, started the season well and lead the national league for much of the first round before being overtaken in first position, first by AS Kigali, then Police and now Rayon Sport.

Kayiranga went on to resign after 13 games, citing non payment of his salary and players after a successful run of 8 wins, three draws and three losses.

He was replaced by his assistant Francois Kalisa, who has since played five league matches, losing two and drew the other, leaving the team in sixth position with 29 points, six points behind the league leaders and archrivals Rayon, who at one stage were lying 12 points behind their old enemies.

Kiyovu were also knocked out of the Peace Cup on Sunday by national league rivals Musanze 4-2 on penalties after a goalless 90 minutes.

For a team that started so well and were seen as genuine title contenders, the speed at which they are dropping down the table has caused a lot of concern for their supporters, and club Secretary General Jean Marie Nsengiyumva knows where the real trouble lays.

In an exclusive interview, Nsegiyumva acknowledged the club is going through troubled times in terms of financial standing but says, "We are trying to solve the problems so that the team can get back to winning ways."

"We have lost the head coach (Kayiranga) a key senior player (Bokota Labama) because the club could not pay them on time, and it has affected the whole team," Nsegiyumva told Times Sport.

Injured team captain Eric Serugaba has also been out of action since the start of the second round, but that's not all admits the SG, "There are so many reasons that have caused the team to drop so many points especially since Kayirange left but the major one is financial."

Veteran striker Bokota is reported to have gone back to his native Democratic Republic of Congo.

Nsegiyumva added, "There is no way the club can progress with so many internal problems, most of them caused by financial constraints. We need so find a lasting solution the problem and we are trying to handle it before the end of the season."

On Kayinranga, he said, "He is one of the best coaches in the country but there was nothing we could do to keep him at the club because he wanted to leave," the official explained.

"Our short-term target is to build a strong side capable of finishing as high as possible in the league, and then we plan for next season accordingly."

The last time Kiyovu won the league was way back in 1993, won the Primus Cup in 2011 under Jean Marie Ntagwabira and also played in CAF Confederation Cup last year after finishing runners up behind APR but were eliminated by Tanzanian side Simba in the preliminary round.

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