Paris Saint — Germain Academy of Rwanda head coach Grace Nyinawumuntu has heaped praise on her players after putting yet another footballing masterclass during the just-concluded 2023 PSG World Cup in Paris, France.
Rwanda U11 and U13 teams were crowned world champions after beating Brazil in the final at the Parc des Princes which has been home to PSG superstars Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe among others .
The U11 team of the Huye-based academy claimed their first title of the competition in which they finished fourth in 2022 after beating the South Americans 3-2 on penalties after both teams played out a 1-1 draw in the normal time.
Skipper Samuel Shema, who scored the lone goal for Rwanda U11 in the final, was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) while Derrick Ntakirutimana was given the goalkeeper of the tournament award in recognition to his goalkeeping heroics where conceded only four goals in eight games played, the least in the tournament.
Meanwhile, the U13 youngsters retained the trophy they won last year after beating Brazil again in the final 4-3 on penalties after the pair were tied to a 1-1 draw in the normal time.
Nyinawumuntu commended the boys for their hard work and showing character and a winning mentality against a football giant in Brazil.
The former AS Kigali admits that there were mistakes that the U13 team, for instance, committed last year despite winning the tournament which they worked on before going to France to defend the title.
“We took time to fix each and every loophole in all departments of the team and the boys came back stronger. Now look at the results, I am so proud of these boys,” she told Times Sport.
“We prepared them enough and they went for the tournament with so much confidence and determination to win,” she added.
Going to Paris for the PSG World Cup, she said, the team was ready to beat any opponent and Brazil was no exception.
“Brazil is a world class footballing nation and some may think that we didn’t beat the real Brazil team, but it’s the Brazil that everybody normally knows. The country sent a tough team to the tournament…we played against a tough team and we beat a tough team,” she said.
Nyinawumuntu said she is privileged to be part of the success and results that PSG Academy Rwanda has been showing on and off the pitch since she joined in 2021.
“I am a winner, it’s not my first time winning titles as a coach because I could also win trophies during my time at AS Kigali. It means a lot to me.”
What does it mean for Rwanda?
“It’s a testament that Rwanda has got talent. Young talents deserve to be in good hands, they need time and adequate exposure to shine. The future of Rwandan football is bright; it is in their hands,” she said.