Rwanda drops naturalised players

 

In a bid to streamline the football structures in the country, the Rwanda Football Association (Ferwafa) has parted ways with all naturalised players in the national football team.

This follows Rwanda’s disqualification from the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations group stage qualifiers in August after the Confederation of African Football (CAF) banned the Amavubi for fielding Congolese born player Tady Etekiama Agiti also known as Dady Birori in Rwanda.

Birori who features for AS Vita in the Democratic Republic of Congo was also been banned by CAF for two years for his dual identity.

Speaking exclusively to supersport.com, the Amavubi head coach Stephen Constantine explained the move. “We have taken a tough decision to part ways with all the players who were not born in Rwanda. It is a big blow for us but it is high time we did so.”

Ugandan-born striker Meddie Kagere who joined FK Tirana in Albania two months ago will no longer feature for the Amavubi despite scoring nine goals in 29 appearances for the Amavubi since his debut in 2011.

Jimmy Mbaraga and Peter Kagabo who feature for Police FC in the Rwandan National League as well as Rayon Sport’s Jerome Sina have also been told that they can no longer play for the Amavubi.

“We now have a gap because four of them were strikers. It is a considerable hole when we talk about strikers and it is something that we are going to try to fill,” the thoughtful Constantine lamented.

The Englishman who took charge of the Amavubi in May this year reflects on the players’ achievements with the national side but points out that now is the time to start doing the right thing – rebuilding.

He explained, “If we had a pool of 30 to select from, now we have 25. We need to start developing the younger players and correctly decide that we use only locally born players and we should have been doing that. We haven’t done that, we have tried to shortcut that.”

The naturalised players are expected to return any documentation to the Immigration Office indicating that they are Rwandese and this includes national identity cards. They are expected to regain their original nationalities respective of where they were born.

Their service passports at Immigration will no longer be legible for use to travel or represent Rwanda. In the case of Kagere and Kagabo, they will regain their Ugandan nationality and in the case of name changing, they will act accordingly.

Kagabo is expected to take up his original name which is Peter Otema while Sina is expected to get his Congolese nationality and passport as Jerome Sena Abedi.

Ferwafa president Vincent Degaule Nzamwita added, “We are working closely with the federation in the Democratic Republic of Congo to make sure that we avoid a scenario where players have double identity and also scenarios where players are playing in both leagues under different names.”

Nzamwita who came into office earlier this year is keen on streamlining football in Rwanda and admitted that the Birori incident will never happen again.

Birori who was born in Kinshasa on December 12, 1986, received his Rwandan nationality in 2009 but also got a Congolese passport last year that indicates that he was born on December 13, 1990.

Based on this information, the Congolese Football Federation (Fecofoot) filed a complaint with CAF after Congo Brazzaville’s 2-0 win in Pointe Noir in July, a game that Birori took part in.

Birori did not play in the return leg in Kigali as the Amavubi cruised to a shocking 2-0 triumph to tie the aggregate at 2-2 forcing a penalty shootout that the hosts won 4-3.

Rwanda then booked a place in Group A with Nigeria, South Africa and Sudan. However, following CAF’s decision to ban Rwanda, the latter was replaced with Congo Brazzaville.

Birori had scored a hat-trick against Libya in the return leg in Kigali after a goalless draw in Tunisia in the first round of qualification setting up a date against Congo Brazzaville in the next round.

The incident cost Rwanda an opportunity to attempt qualification to the continent’s biggest football event for a second time, having made a debut appearance in 2004 in Tunisia. ‑ Supersport.com

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