Rwanda: Cycling - Does Sempoma Deserve a Chance to Take Over Team Rwanda?

30 November 2020

The Rwanda Cycling Federation (FERWACY) is searching for a new head coach who will immediately assume the national cycling team coaching role ahead of the 13th edition of Tour du Rwanda scheduled for February 21-28, next year.

The coaching role for Team Rwanda Cycling has been vacant since the cycling governing body decided against extending outgoing head coach Magnell Sterling.

His deputy, Felix Sempoma, took over as caretaker during the national team's victorious campaign at the just-concluded Grand Prix Chantal Biya which saw Moise Mugisha emerge the overall winner.

The race was Sempoma's fifth major silverware with the national team after victories in last year's Tour du Senegal, 2018 Tour du Cameroon and La Tropicale Amissa Bongo in 2018. He also inspired Hadi Janvier to take home a Gold medal at the 2015 All Africa Games.

Sempoma has a contract with the Cycling governing body as the deputy coach for Team Rwanda but is reportedly not paid a monthly salary and gets bonuses that depend on the team's performances.

There have been calls from some sections of cycling fans that he should be appointed head coach and in an interview with Times Sport the coach said that he can't refuse to take over the national team if the terms are good.

"As of now, I am a coach for Benediction Cycling Club and no contract talks have happened yet over a possibility to become the head coach of Team Rwanda," Sempoma said in an interview

"Of course you can't say 'no' when the country wants you to put in your contribution; it will all depend on the Ministry's decision on who to appoint," he added.

Team Rwanda or Benediction?

Team Rwanda Cycling and Team Benediction Ignite are two of three cycling teams that will represent Rwanda at the 2021 Tour du Rwanda and all eyes are on Sempoma to see whether he will quit his club to move for the National Team if the federation comes calling.

Asked whether he is ready to quit his current club, Benediction, once the chance to coach the national team comes his way, Sempoma said that there are good coaches, like his deputy Benoit Munyankindi who can step in and succeed him at Benediction.

"For now, I am the head coach of Benediction. To take over the national team may depend on the outcomes of the contract talks with the cycling federation. But I don't have a contract with any cycling team other than Benediction," he said.

"And if I am to take over the national team, I trust his [Munyankindi's] capability can take any team to the next level. We are on the same level in coaching and I have confidence in him that he can give the team good results, "he said

The federation still has time to decide on who will become the next coach of Team Rwanda and could announce the decision in the next few weeks for him to prepare the national team for next year's Tour du Rwanda.

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