A group of former and current national football team players and sports journalists has launched a drive to raise funds for former Amavubi centre back Bonaventure 'Gangi' Hategekimana, who is in hospital battling tuberculosis.
The group includes former national team skippers Olivier Karekezi and Desire Mbonabucya, Julien Ndagano Nsengiyumva, Jean Lemi Bitana Nshuti, Leandre Bizagwira, and current Amavubi skipper Haruna Niyonzima.
The players, journalists along with other football lovers on Monday opened up a WhatsApp group account for the cause.
Hategekimana, 36, is admitted at Rubavu Hospital in Rubavu District.
He retired in February last year after more than a decade of stints in several local clubs including APR, Rayon Sports, Police, Marines, Etincelles, Musanze and the now-defunct Atraco.
At the time of his retirement he was playing for Musanze.
"After undergoing a throat surgery, I decided to call time on my playing career because I was ill. I thank everyone who supported me during my playing career and will always be grateful for having represented my country," Hategekimana said in a phone interview with Times Sport yesterday.
The 'Help Gangi' campaign started on Sunday and by press time former Amavubi stars who stay abroad had already raised $300 (about Rwf250,000), while sports journalists had contributed about Rwf200,000.
The New Times understands that several other groups of fans were mobilising funds for the cause after a picture of a bedridden Gangi made rounds on social media early this week.
Karekezi, a former teammate, said: "We should help a fellow Rwandan and one of the best defenders this country has ever had, he needs urgent medical treatment, I call on well-wishers to join in the effort to save Gangi's life."
The ailing former defender played for Amavubi mainly between 2002 and 2010.
He's been hospitalized for a couple of months now.