Top football league clubs based in the capital Kigali have started a process to form a single team – as government begins phasing out districts which previously supported the teams.
AS Kigali and Kiyovu Sports teams have proposed to merge into one entity in order to compete favourably for trophies.
Under the plans, the merger would see both clubs appointing one management committee with the aim to improve the level of football in Kigali City.
The project is also meant to consolidate the fan-base as the team also benefits from the City’s seasonal sponsorship package.
The merger plans are contained in an official letter that has leaked on social media.
AS Kigali has been financially sponsored for years by City of Kigali, while Kiyovu Sports, also stationed in the capital, receives a large percentage of its funding from Nyarugege district and fan-base.
Currently, City of Kigali (CoK) is made up of Nyarugenge, Kicukiro and Gasabo districts. Each has its own very powerful mayor elected by people in that region.
In addition, there is also a mayor for City of Kigali, who, as par the hierarchy is above the mayors of the districts.
All the districts have been collecting billions in revenue from taxes, and only sending 30% to CoK. The districts also wield a host of other responsibilities.
Under a bill currently in Parliament which was introduced in late April, the financial, administrative and political roles of the districts will be moved to the City of Kigali mayor.
Local Government Minister Prof Anastase Shyaka is the brain behind the changes, and Kigali’s Mayor Marie Chantal Rwakazina has been the backup act.
It means Nyarugenge district will have no money to dish out like it has been doing on things like a football team, according to observers.
The merger proposal was sent by officials of AS Kigali and Kiyovu Sports to Mayor Rwakazina, in letter dated May 24.
Jean Pierre Kayumba, the Kiyovu President and Pascal Kanyandekwe of AS Kigali signed the letter that was received by the city’s executives asking them to embrace the idea.
The Mayor of Kigali is yet to make any comment.
Kiyovu was formed by fans in 1964, making it one of the oldest local teams, but has struggled in the national league.
As Kigali, for its part, has also been around for years.
However, the national trophies always change hands between the military side APR FC and Rayon Sports, which has roots in Nyanza region in southern Rwanda.