The team “Académie le Messager” from Burundi was invited in South Africa for the Durban KZN Friendship Soccer Tournament for young players aged less than 20 from this 22 to 29 September 2013. However, the Championship didn’t end as planned because it wasn’t organized well – By Yves Didier Irakoze
This Championship that would take place in Durban, South Africa was a follow- up of the one that had taken place in Moscow, Russia for young boys under 20 years old. Teams from Burundi, Russia, Mozambique and South Africa were invited; the latter being the host country.
According to Hon. Jean Jacques Nyenimigabo, the Principal Advisor in Charge of Missions in the office of the President, who accompanied the team, that Championship didn’t end on the agreed date because of some improper organization by the hosting organizer though they were supposed to be fully assisted and supported.
“We arrived at Johannesburg on 21st September. We were supposed to spend eight hours at Johannesburg but the organizers didn’t do anything to welcome us in time. They even came to take us from the Airport to Durban late in the night. And when we arrived at Durban, we were supposed to sleep at a three star hotel but that was not the case. They showed us a lodge where around four or six people had to sleep together but we protested it,” deplores Hon. Nyenimigabo.
He goes on saying that they even had lunch very late at 2:00a.m and were served cold food because they took long to arrive at the hotel. “The following day they took us to another hotel. Unfortunately, because the main organizer didn’t pay, we were obliged to leave before the end of the Championship. We even propose to go back to the initial lodge so that we could continue the competition as we were very eager to win, but in vain”, he regrets.
He notes that if they stayed the organizer would pay much more money they decided to let them go despite the intervention of the SA Football Federation.
Young boys from Burundi were eager to play and win the Cup
“In fact, we played once with Russia and the match ended in a draw score. Unfortunately, we couldn’t fully participate in the tournament even though we wanted to come back to the country with a trophy as we did in Moscow,” he states.
Hon. Nyenimigabo recalled that another objective was to identify the best players in all teams, and we congratulated ourselves because three best players in our team were identified.
Sport for money or strengthening relations!
Hon. Nyenimigabo deplores the way they were treated during this Championship by the organizer. He also adds that the organizer made sport to gain money instead of promoting opportunities to have meetings with other youths for sharing experience and strengthening relations.
Finally, he concludes by calming down the players and asks them to consider what happened in South Africa as an experience and urges them to be courageous as there are many other opportunities in the future.