Former Buccaneer forward, Riyaad Norodien speaks about life in the DR Congo and at his current club Kiyovu Sports in Rwanda.
The former Ajax Cape Town winger has ventured into Africa for the second time, after being with DC Motema Pembe, whilst the opportunities in South Africa are limited as he describes.
“The team (Kiyovu Sports) is doing well, we are number one on the log. There are always challenges in football. As always, in Africa with salaries always being late etc. If the team doesn’t win there is always negativity, when the team wins all is forgotten. You have to be strong, because you are not from this country you are classified as a foreigner. The game is fast and physical I would say, similar to the NFD,” Norodien told ThisIsFootball.Africa.
“If the money is not always on time, you have a family and you must make sure that your kids’ school fees are paid, your car gets paid, your house gets paid. So, when your salary is late, it’s a big problem. I’ve been in DR Congo before this, so I’m adapting. My football speaks for itself and I can fit in anywhere because I believe in my ability.
The former Cape Town City midfielder goes into how the move to DC Motema Pembe in the DR Congo came about and why he made the move into East Africa.
At the age of 20 he was signed by Orlando Pirates from Ajax Cape Town, alongside his teammate Abubakar Mobara for a joint fee of R12 million. But into his late 20’s, finding a club in South Africa was very puzzling in his opinion, especially given the abundance of experience he had attained.
“The one guy I was speaking to sent videos of myself to one of the coaches at DC Motema Pembe in DR Congo, and the coach said he liked what he saw. They told him to bring me over so that they could see what I was about. It was basically a trial, but I didn’t know because I thought that they already wanted me. So I went about my business, then one day the president was there to watch the training and I was doing extra work which was my free kick takings. The President was blown away with what he saw and he then signed me on the spot. I spent four months in the Congo, and I was supposed to return in January. But there were major things happening in the Congo. Like they attacked the president of the club, they also didn’t book my return ticket because everything was suspended at that moment. The supporters and the President were in a tug of war together.
Norodien says that the DRC experience did not derail him, as well as the lack of real interest from PSL clubs, mainly because his target is to qualify for CAF football at the end of this season, with the team in prime position to do so.
“So I had to wait six months for my paperwork because I was still had a contract with them. I was home in SA, and I couldn’t play football for the entire six months. FIFA got involved, and many players wrote to FIFA to say that they weren’t getting paid. In June I got my paperwork, I was just sitting at home, and I thought that maybe I’d get a deal in the PSL. I waited for a club, and nothing happened. I kept training and still nothing. Then the coach that took me to Congo gave me a call and said he wanted me to come. I thought let me take it, because nothing was happening in my own country, and there is no point in staying without work. I took the opportunity because I wasn’t even getting anything in the NFD or PSL, so I thought you know what, let me go once again. “Now I’m in Rwanda with Kiyovu Sports and in my first game we won the local “Made In Rwanda Cup” against Rayon Sports, which was our first trophy in 34 years.”