African Football is Evolving, Says Russian Who Played for Rwandan Club
FootballInternationalIndiaAfricaMuhammad Nooh OsmanWriter/EditorIn 2022, Russian footballer Vladislav Kormishin, a former player of Russia’s Spartak Moscow, Dynamo St. Petersburg, and Arsenal-2 Tula football clubs, moved to Kiyovu Sports in Rwanda, becoming the first Russian and second European professional player in the Rwanda Premier League. With the Kigali-based club, the player won the Made in Rwanda Cup. Russian football player Vladislav Kormishin recently returned from Rwanda, where he played for Kiyovu Sports, becoming the first Russian and second European professional footballer to play in the local championship. In an interview with Sputnik, Kormishin shares his positive experience of playing football in Rwanda, a country he describes as “exotic.”The Russian player spoke highly of the reception by the coaching staff and management, and he was pleasantly surprised by the level of living standards in Rwanda, which exceeded his expectations. The footballer also admitted that he was surprised by the country’s positive attributes, which are not typically associated with Africa.Prior to signing with Kiyovu Sports, Kormishin had heard about African football, but he was not familiar with the Rwandan league. However, he decided to take a chance and began to study and learn about the league and the country. He was glad that he did, as he enjoyed his time playing football in Rwanda.
"It was a big surprise for me that the country turned out to be much higher in terms of living standards than I even could have imagined," the Russian admits. "Of course, I was pleasantly surprised. At many points I was surprised, because Africa, probably, is associated with different things for everyone, especially for those who have never been there and have not seen it."
AfricaCameroonian Footballer Says Club Made Him Warm Bench Over His Pro-Russian Stance7 March, 12:53 GMTWhen asked about the climate, Kormishin acknowledged that the temperature could be quite hot, but he didn’t experience any discomfort due to the temperature difference. He also described Rwanda as a comfortable country to live in, with football being very popular, along with basketball.As for the highlights of his time in Rwanda, the 27-year-old player mentioned the natural beauty of the country, particularly a trip to a lake where he saw an active volcano. He also praised Kigali, the capital city, for being clean and safe. Kormishin expressed his desire to return to Rwanda as a tourist and visit neighboring countries, including going on a safari and visiting a gorilla reserve in the mountains.
"Both for football and for life, I think Rwanda is a comfortable country. It's just that all people are different, so some can adapt, some cannot adapt to new conditions," Kormishin says. "It seems to me that it depends on the comfort zone that each person has. But it also depends on what purpose you are going there [for]."
The former Spartak Moscow striker also shares his observations about African football and its players, saying that for many African footballers, the sport is seen as a means to gain exposure and eventually move on to play in European countries. He was impressed with the physical training of the African athletes, noting their natural resilience. Kormishin also mentions that Rwandan players who leave the country to play in other good leagues are celebrated, as it is regarded as a source of pride for the country.The Russian player observed that young boys in Rwanda often play football on the streets or in the sand, using makeshift goals made from bottles, which is a common activity in poorer areas of the country, particularly on the outskirts of cities.In order to extend his experience in African football, following Rwanda, Kormishin says he would like to play in Tanzania and Ethiopia due to the good level of their football leagues, which feature strong teams. He would also consider going to South Africa.AfricaAfrica’s Hotshots: Top 10 Football Players on the Continent31 January, 11:15 GMTSpeaking of Africa’s place in the international football arena, the Russian player believes that Morocco’s success in reaching the semi-finals of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, held in Qatar, was not an accident.
"The Moroccan team […] played very well. And there are high-quality players in the national team who play in good championships and clubs, not only in North Africa," he assumes. "The players who go to play in the championship of a higher level look better in the national teams."
Morocco recently announced teaming up with Spain and Portugal for a joint endeavor to host the 2030 FIFA World Cup.Kormishin believes that African football is developing, citing the successful use of infrastructure and stadiums during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. While acknowledging the different mentalities in African countries, Kormishin is optimistic about their future development in football. He believes that in sports, anything is possible and someday, an African team might lift the World Cup.”In sports, in football, everything is possible. No one expected Morocco to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup,” he states. “Maybe someday it will happen that some of the African teams will lift the World Cup! Everything is possible.”Earlier in March, FIFA announced that it will invest $50,000 to expand school football programs in Rwanda. On 16 March, Gianni Infantino was re-elected as FIFA president during the association’s 73rd Congress in Kigali.