The leadership of Rayon Sports Football Club has officially distanced itself from Hértier Nzinga Luvumbu, a Congolese player for the team, following a controversial gesture he made that has sparked a wide range of reactions.
On Sunday, February 11, 2024, Rayon Sports secured a 2-1 victory against Police FC in a match marking the 20th day of the championship season. Among the two goals scored by Rayon Sports was one by Hértier Nzinga Luvumbu. Following his goal, Luvumbu celebrated with a gesture indicating that Congolese people are being killed while the world remains silent, not addressing the ongoing conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
This act by Luvumbu was met with criticism from various football fans who argued that mixing politics with sports is inappropriate. This sentiment is particularly sensitive in Rwanda, where the current government, led by President Paul Kagame, has been accused by some, including United Nations experts, of supporting the M23 rebel group with soldiers and supplies.
In response to Luvumbu’s actions, Rayon Sports’ management issued a statement via the team’s social media platforms, denouncing the player’s conduct. The statement reads: “The Rayon Sports family dissociates itself from the inappropriate behavior demonstrated by our player Héritier Luvumbu Nzinga during the championship match between Rayon Sports and Police FC on February 11, 2024, at the Kigali Pele Stadium.”
Furthermore, the statement served as a reminder to all players in the Rwandan championship to exhibit good manners both on and off the field. “We take this opportunity to remind our team players to always display discipline on and off the pitch.”
Luvumbu is considered one of Rayon Sports’ key players, known for scoring critical goals for the team.