Saint-Etienne forward Kevin Monnet-Paquet has finally stated that he would like to play international football for Rwanda’s Amavubi team.
Monnet-Paquet, 30 years, confirmed the development in an interview with RMC Sport on Friday afternoon before he featured for Saint Etienne in the French derby against Olympique Lyonnais.
“It’s been a long time since I want to go back there, I often think about it,” says the Saint-Etienne striker, who has already had contacts with the Rwandan team.
“They often called me in. It was not always well coordinated, but why not?” Before the end of my career, I think I’ll go play, to go back to my mother’s land, where I lived, “he said.
The striker was born in Bourgoin-Jallieu, south-eastern France to a French father and mother of Rwandan decent. He came to Rwanda then left for Togo before his parents relocated to France.
Monnet-Paquet was brought up through the France youth football programme and has represented France at the U-18 and U-19 levels and has also featured for the France U-21 side seven times but has never turned out for Les Blues.
“My first memories of football were when I was in Africa, I lived in Africa when I was little, and I started watching football on TV at the time of the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN). Football is more than a sport and Rwanda is my mother’s country of origin. Just before the war (1994 Genocide against the Tutsi), we went to Togo for two years, then I returned to France,” he explained.
“I know what my mother experienced when she was young, what the people in my family lived in. I know where Rwanda came from, I have not forgotten, I think that Rwanda has changed a lot since then. It would be nice to return back.
If we can help for the development of football, it would be good. I think I will return before the end of my career,” says Monnet-Paquet.
Monnet-Paquet’s remark is a good relief for Rwanda Football Federation which has been convincing him to play for Amavubi for six years now. In 2012, former FERWAFA President Celestin Ntagungira Abegga met and held talks to don Amavubi jersey then in 2014, Nzamwita Vincent who replaced Abegga also tried his best but the player never gave a positive nod by then.
Despite being out of the 2019 AFCON Qualifying campaign, Monnet-Paquet will play a pivotal role for Rwanda when they begin the 2021 AFCON Qualifying campaign in 2020.
Rwanda currently sits bottom of Group H with only two points after playing five match days of the 2019 AFCON Qualification campaign.