Joseph Bugabo, Rwanda team member, has written an account of his experiences travelling and playing with the Rwanda rugby team that played in a CAR tournament in Arusha, Tanzania, in August.


I guess the being stranded on first day was an omen of what was coming regardless of the Rwandan (Silverbacks') high spirits.

We called Tinus Aucup who immediately sent a pick-up to ferry the team from Mount Meru Hotel gates to City Link Hotel just about 300 metres away.

The team that comprised of 22players, its coach and 1 official had spent two days on the road. It travelled to Uganda, moved overnight through Kenya and arrived
in Arusha at about 15hrs exhausted.

However, due to determination to put up a good fight, the team after 1 hour went for a light training session of mainly touch rugby.

Rwanda's game was after 3 days from arrival on Thursday  17th August 2006. Burundi's game against hosts Tanzania was to be the opener on 15th August

However by midnight, there was no sign of the Burundi team which had also travelled by road. We later learnt that they had been delayed by the immigration
officials at the Namanga border who demanded for Visas from them.

The Burundi team managed to make it for their game which had to be pushed from 16hrs to 17hrs to give it time to recover a bit. Burundi put up a good fight but could not stop the 60-3 hammering.

The Rwandan team under Fijian born Isimeli Mocevakaca, who trains it on a voluntary basis, would wake up for a 2km walk and stretching session plus training later in the afternoon.

Rwanda was sure of victory over the Burundi team come 17th August because of it's wins and dominance in earlier encounters. Rwanda beat Burundi 15-5 in the
same tournament in August 2005. This was not to be this time round. The Burundi team dominated the scrummages, rucks and line-outs forcing Rwanda to give away so many penalties.

Burindi capitalised on these mistakes to convert three penalties against Rwanda's two thus winning 9-6 in their favour.The Rwandan coach kept reminding the team of the
Tanzania game and thus the need to remain focussed.

In the first 25 minutes, the game against Tanzania looked like it could go either way but that's as far as Rwanda could hold on. Tanzania capitalised on the fact that Rwanda's backs were sucked among the forwards leaving too much overlap space for them.Rwanda's winger Asuman Ibonga's futile calls for support fell on apparently deaf ears.


The score at half time was 39-00. The rampage went on in the second half ending the game 71-8 more than double last year's encounter. Rwanda's try came from blind winger Jean de la paix Hategekimana and a penalty conversion from Man
of the Match in last years encounter against Burundi, Lucien Bikamba.

The Rwandan team was obviously dissapointed. However, from the coach's point of view, it was a learning experience. He said that next time, the Rwandan team will not
undermine any team and will take training sessions more seriously.

"You need to prepare physically, mentally and spiritually," Mocevakaca stressed.
Hopefully in the upcoming tournaments, the Rwandan team will take those three elements more seriously.

Rwanda was invited for the Mombasa 7s rugby later this year by the Mombasa team that played a friendly against Burundi on the same day of the final game.


The Rwanda Squad


Gerald Senga                           Remera Buffaloes RFC

Erick Mbarushimana                Nyamirambo Lions de Fer RFC

James Mugabo            Nyamirambo Lions de Fer RFC

Jean de la paix Hategekimana   Nyamirambo Lions de Fer RFC

Asuman Ibonga                       Remera Buffaloes RFC

Lucien Bikamba                       Remera Buffaloes RFC

Robert Nshyimiyimana          Nyamirambo Lions de Fer RFC

Patrick Hodari                         Nyamirambo Gorillas RFC

Booker Karemangingo  Remera Buffaloes RFC

Olivier Nikwigize                     Nyamirambo Lions de Fer RFC

Christian Muhoza                     National Univ. of Rwanda RFC

Joseph Bugabo            Remera Buffaloes RFC

Abdul Ngongo                         Nyamirambo Gorillas RFC

Barnaba Imadi                         Nyamirambo Lions de Fer RFC

Evode Rukundo                       Remera Buffaloes RFC

Didier Kamanzi            Nyamirambo Lions de Fer RFC

Janvier Bunani             Nyamirambo Lions de Fer RFC

Jean Baptist Itanzi                    Nyamirambo Gorillas RFC

Suleiman Kabura                     Remera Buffaloes RFC

Give God Niyonzima               Nyamirambo Gorillas RFC

Jean Baptist Mukiza                 Gikondo Sharks RFC

Innocent Ahorukomeye Nyamirambo Lions de Fer RFC

Coach: Isimeli Mocevakaca (Fiji)


Just a little editing by G.Carbines,