It is not very often that footballers – or sportsmen and women – pursue political careers after retirement. In most cases, they go into coaching, sports administration or business.
The probability is even slenderer in Rwanda where football is regarded as the sport with fewest educated players. Most hardly complete second school studies, let alone making it to their university graduation day.
However, football icon George Weah has defied the odds, and proved for younger generations across the globe that it is not always an ‘either politics or football’ situation, that one can successfully do both.
After a dazzling football career, during which he won the Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year award among many other accolades, he went to be politically influential. Today, Weah, 53, is the 25th President of Liberia.
Kayumba holds a bachelor’s degreee in finance. Net.
On the domestic scene, there is a number of renowned political leaders – or former leaders – who previously had a sporting background in various disciplines, but very few were from football. Arguably the most famous, Christophe Bazivamo, the East African Community (EAC) Deputy Secretary General, played for local giants Rayon Sports.
And, it seems, he has also inspired younger generations – just like George Weah, but on a smaller scale.
Speaking to Saturday Sport this week, Rwanda international and former AS Kigali skipper Soter Kayumba revealed that he eyes a political career after he hangs up his boots. Currently playing for Kenyan side AFC Leopards, the towering defender previously featured for Etincelles in the Rwanda Premier League.
Kayumba holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Kigali Independent University. He graduated in 2016, at the time when he played for AS Kigali.
“It was not easy for me to play professionally while pursuing varsity studies. It required a lot of balancing and sacrifices, but I was determined to do it and see it through,” Kayumba recalls.
He further explained: “Football is talent, but leadership – and making good impact – has always been my dream since childhood. I will definitely follow dream after retiring from football. I want to take up political leadership.”
The 26-year old says that he is always inspired President Paul Kagame, how he fights for the dignity of the Rwandan and African people, and he hopes one day he can also be an inspiration to young ones – both in football and leadership.
“He [President Kagame] does not rest until he gets things done. That is the kind of leader I aspire to be. Hopefully I can also inspire those behind me.”
Football – “short-lived fame”
The former AS Kigali skipper also further explained that enrolling and completing his university studies was motivated by these ambitions.
He believes, football in Rwanda is still amateur and one has to think of what they will do after retirement.
“Our football is still struggling. We, as players, don’t earn enough and the fame that comes with playing – at club or national team – can be short-lived if one doesn’t make proper investments. For my case, I chose to invest in my education.”
Kayumba says that he wants to earn his master’s degree by the time of his retirement so that he can immediately start applying his knowledge and contribute to the development of the country soon as he officially announces the end of his football career.
Read the full story: Soter Kayumba: “I want to do politics after football career”