Transitional Demobilization and Reintegration Program
Burundi Wins Inaugural Great Lakes Peace Cup
September 2012
The Burundi team lifts the Peace Cup trophy
The Burundi team lifts the Peace Cup trophy.
(photo: TDRP/Chantal Rigaud)

Bubanza FC of Burundi has been crowned as the winner of the first Great Lakes Peace Cup, which was concluded in the Ugandan capital Kampala on Saturday 22 September. Bubanza won 2-1 in a tense, exciting game against Winterbury FC of Gulu, Uganda.

When the referee whistled the end of the game, the yellow team erupted in a joyous celebration, cheering, singing, falling into each other's arms and then running around the field as if they had not already been running for 90 minutes in full sun and heat! Their joy was communicative and even the 1,000 or so spectators around the field, mostly Ugandans, could not help but be happy with them.

Uganda Peace Cup Banner

The captain of the Burundi team sings the
national anthem before the game
(Photo: TDRP/Chantal Rigaud)

The triumphant team wholeheartedly sang the Burundian national anthem before lifting the impressive inaugural trophy, presented to them by senior members of the TDRP, and officials from the various amnesty, disarmament and reintegration commissions of the four participating countries – Burundi, Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Earlier in the day, Kigali Veterans FC of Rwanda and Luvungi FC of Uvira, DRC, finished the third place play-off game tied at 1-1. The Rwandan side edged the Congolese 4-3 on penalty kicks to take the bronze medals.

All four teams had won the right to play in the finals after winning their national tournaments back in spring 2012.

Uganda Peace Cup Banner
The Peace Cup Trophy

Every team that entered the Peace Cup consisted of around half former combatants, and half non-combatants. The tournament aimed to use football to help integrate former combatants back into their communities, where some former soldiers have found it hard to be accepted when returning from conflict.

Participants from all four countries undertook challenging journeys by bus to play in the finals in Kampala. Once there, they spent three days training, playing, relaxing, and getting to know football players from neighboring states. The themes of the Peace Cup were youth (most players were aged between 18-23), reintegration, and development.

Regardless of the victor, in the end all four teams felt privileged to represent their countries and enjoy the opportunity to travel, make new friends, and cast off old prejudices.

Burundi won its place in the final by defeating Rwanda
Burundi won its place in the final by defeating Rwanda
Photo: TDRP/Chantal Rigaud
Peace Cup: a happy Rwandan supporter
A happy Rwandan supporter
Photo: TDRP/Chantal Rigaud

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

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