Tuesday 18 May 2021
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newtimes - 1 month ago

Jean-Damascène Sekamana: The legacy of his three-year leadership at Ferwafa

“We must work together as a group to improve the game. We need teamwork to reach our target. This way, we shall be able to take Rwandan football to a higher level” These were the words of Brig. Gen. (Rtd) Jean-Damascène Sekamana during his acceptance speech after he was elected President of Rwanda Football Association (Ferwafa) in March 2018, taking over the reins from Vincent de Gaulle Nzamwita. From such an exciting speech, expectations were so high among football enthusiasts and stakeholders who thought that, in Sekamana, they had got a man to save Rwandan football. After serving three of his four-year term in office, many were surprised to see him tender in his resignation on Wednesday, April 14, citing that juggling both his demanding personal responsibilities and leading the federation would affect the development of domestic football. Yet, for many, Sekamana’s resignation was also just a matter of time as things for Rwandan football moved from bad to worse. For instance, when Sekamana took the national team Amavubi ranked 123rd in the world, and he leaves when it is in the 137th position. Also, his promise to overhaul grassroots football only remained in papers, and his team failed to make business out of the Rwanda Premier League after Tanzanian broadcaster Azam terminated their sponsorship deal in 2018, accusing Ferwafa of breaching the contract terms and lacking accountability. The league had been without a sponsor since then until Ferwafa signed a four-year deal with local brewer Bralirwa worth a reported Rwf640 million. The package has far less worth compared to what Azam injected in when the Tanzanian pay television offered $2.35m (about Rwf2.3 billion) in 2015 to sponsor the league for five years. Under Sekamana’s leadership, local competitions were also marred by poor refereeing, failure to resume the stalled Ferwafa Hotel construction, and – probably the most embarrassing – players of the national team wearing unmatching uniforms at the 2020 African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Cameroon after the kits were reportedly stolen. On a rather positive note though, it will be remembered that during his leadership, for the first time, a Rwandan coach guided Amavubi to the quarter-finals of a major competition – the 2020 CHAN finals – and Rwanda became the third African country to host a Fifa Regional Development Office.


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