The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Ndayisaba - a Teenager With Mature Ambitions

At only 17-years, Fabrice Ndayisaba is the founder of Ndayisaba Fabrice Foundation (NFF), a local non-profit making body based at IPRC Kicukiro. The foundation brings together children during school-holidays to keep them busy with various sports disciplines-mainly football. The foundation was initiated and founded in 2009 when Ndayisaba was barely 14 years old.

Fabrice Ndayisaba with Samuel Eto'o Fils in 2009. Saturday Sport / Courtesy

Ndayisaba, commonly called Eto'o by his peers, was born on March 10, 1995 in Ruhango District, Southern Province to Jean Pierre Gakwaya and Rose Musabyimana. He is the only child in the family and his father is currently in London, England for his studies.

The 17-year- old Ndayisaba went to Kicukiro-based Apade for primary education before switching to Nyarugenge-based APE Rugunga for his ordinary level (O'level), but his stay at APE didn't last long as he moved to APACOPE after just one year.

Currently, the teenager, who carries ambitions and ideas far bigger than his age, is waiting for his O'level examination results.

Ndayisaba says his idol is former FC Barcelona, Inter Milan striker and Cameroun international Samuel Eto'o Fils, whom he has been lucky to meet on two occasions.

"I first met him in 2006 when Cameroun came here to play Amavubi and again 2009 when he came for the 1-Dollar campaign charity match along with the African all-stars team," the youngster recalls with a big smile.

On the local scene, the former Apade pupil supports 13-time champions APR, Chelsea in the English Premier League and FC Barcelona in Spain.

Start:

Ndayisaba Fabrice Foundation, which initially started as Ndayisaba Fabrice Eto'o Foundation, was officially inaugurated on September 1, 2009, two months after the then 14-year-old Ndayisaba met his idol Eto'o during the charity One-dollar campaign for survivors of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi.

NFF started with just 36 children aged between 6 and 18 years, all boys. Currently the foundation counts over 150 children, including 110 boys and 40 girls.

According to Ndayisaba, the initial idea was to entertain the beneficiaries (children) through football, but as the foundation grows, it has introduced other sports disciplines namely volleyball, basketball and dancing (traditional and modern) as a way of tapping into the full potential of the children.

NFF's current image and status:

The foundation is currently made up of 150 children aged 6 to 18 years old training at IPRS formerly called ETO Kicukiro playgrounds.

"We have over 150 members. The playgrounds we use belong IPRS Kicukiro. We really appreciate whoever has supported Nadayisaba Fabrice Foundation," Ndayisaba told Saturday Sport in an interview .

He explained that due to the varying ages of these children, they are grouped in classes. The 6 to 10-year old kids share the same category, 11 to 13 are in another group, 14 to 15 and 16 to 18 also have their own groups.

He also revealed that the foundation recently introduced dancing, both traditional and modern as part of increasing the fun for the children. His dance troop is called 'Intore z'agaciro'.

"The major targets that NFF emphasises are sports, education and culture and together as a team we will reach our goal and build a bright future for our generation," the 17-year-old stated.

Note of thanks:

"First, I have to thank former Minister of Sports and Culture, Joseph Habineza. He played a big role in connecting me with Samuel Eto'o and I really appreciate," Ndayisaba says.

He also highlighted the role of IPRS Kicukiro and the school Principal, Deogene Mulindahabi, for providing the training ground all these years without any conditions as well as providing advice whenever consulted.

He also cites the media as another key player in promoting NFF activities.

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