Saved By The Beautiful Game

Football saved Eric Murangwa’s life. And, not in a metaphorical way. His success as a goalkeeper for Rayon Sport, one of Rwanda’s biggest teams, was all that stopped someone ready to kill him.  

In 1994, the president's airplane was shot down setting in motion a brutal genocide that lasted over 100 days. As part of the Tutsi minority targetted by the militias, Eric’s life was at risk.

Eric with Rayon Sport in 1992

Eric with Rayon Sport in 1992

When his house was raided, a soldier brandishing a machete noticed photographs of Eric is his kit surrounded by his teammates. The soldier realised Eric was, in fact, the young Rayon Sport goalkeeper who had been fondly nicknamed Toto. This was enough for him to spare his life - but Eric was not out of danger yet.

Relying on the help of his Hutu teammates, Eric was moved from place to place - even spending time in the notorious ‘Hotel Rwanda’ before finding relative safety with help from the UN.

In this episode, Eric is interviewed by fellow goalkeeper, coach and sports journalist David Preece.

Listen to the full episode now to hear more about Eric’s incredible journey, his unwavering love of the game and how he’s now using football to help young Rwandans recover and reconcile with his foundation, Football for Hope, Peace and Unity.