Pierre Nkuruziza chest controls a ball

Burundi’s head of state Pierre Nkurunziza, 55, died on 9th June 2020 following a cardiac arrest as reported by the Government.

“The Government of the Republic of Burundi announces with great sadness the unexpected death of His Excellency Pierre Nkurunziza, the President of Burundi…following heart failure on June 8, 2020” a post on Twitter read.

Nkurunziza was a very religious leader as well

A devout evangelical Christian, Nkurunziza was a die-hard sportsman who easily balanced the demanding state duties with football games, jogging sessions, bicycle rides and basketball.

In fact, hours before he suffered the cardiac heart arrest, he played some basketball.

Nkurunziza (right) fights for the ball possession
Le Messager Ngozi XI that recently beat BS Dynamic 2-1

He owned a football club in the Burundi top flight league, Messanger Le Ngozi Football Club which is on the verge of winning the 2019/20 Primus Burundi Premier League.

Messanger Le Ngozi is also home to two Ugandan footballers; defender Steven “Nesta” Mugisha and midfielder Allan Brian Kizza.

It is a pity that we have lost President Nkurunziza. He loved football a lot. We often trained with him. He loved watching every training session. In fact, even on Monday, he was with us at the training session. We are heart-broken and shall miss him forever.

Allan Brian Kizza, midfielder at Messanger Ngozi Football Club
Nkurunziza controls the ball during a leisure game
Nkuruziza (in black jacket) could freely share ideas with his team players (Photo: Nishe Sport)

Nkurunziza was born in 1963 to Eustache Ngabisha and Minani Domtillie in Burundi’s capital city, Bujumbura, but was raised in the province of Ngozi in Northern Burundi.

Nkurunziza had attained a degree in Sports Education at the Institut D’ education Physique et des Sports (IEPS) at the University of Burundi.

The mother Domtillie died a day after his son’s death, following a stroke.

Nkurunziza in action
Nkurunziza perfects the ball heading skills (Photo: AFP)

Nkurunziza belonged to the National Council for the Defense of Democracy – Forces for Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD) party and has been president of Burundi for 15 years.

Prior to his death, Burundi has successfully held an election where Evaristo Ndayishimiye was voted as president.

The successful handover ceremony had been slated for August 2020.

Nkurunziza in office for state duties
Nkurunziza during a recent campaign rally held in May 2020

The country has declared a week of mourning before the full burial programme will be communicated.

Nkurunziza shoots during a game
President Nkurunziza kicks off the East African Parliamentary Games held in Burundi recently

Rest in Peace.

David Isabirye is a senior staff writer for Kawowo Sports where he covers most of the major events.

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