STARplex and its Futsal MinRoos program was happy to play host to a visit from Adelaide United player Pacifique Niyongabire for one of their weekly clinics.
The children were presented gift packs and received posters with signed autographs. Pacifique also joined the participants in a scratch match, much to the childrens delight
Pacifique was born in Burundi, but as an eight-year-old he and his family were forced to flee the country. “There was war in my country… and pretty bad poverty,” he said. “We were taken to a camp in Tanzania – they took us to Australia… for a better life.”
Pacifique made his debut locally with the Gawler Eagles first team at age 16 – he scored three goals for the State League side and 41 for the under 18s. “The Gawler Eagles helped me a lot to grow my confidence playing with the older guys,” he said. “It was very scary at the start, but I learnt to adapt.”
He later was asked to trial for the Adelaide United Youth team and immediately caught the eye and got selected. He celebrated his first goal with his now trademark backflip. “I have been working very hard for this and will keep doing a lot of work to improve my football every day.”
Adelaide United’s General Manager of Football, Ante Kovacevic, said Niyongabire has a bright future ahead of him…. “Pacifique is a talented young footballer that has impressed us from the beginning of pre-season. “He has continued to work hard and go about his football in a professional manner and this is reward for that. “Pacifique is still young and definitely has a big future ahead of him and we’re excited to see what that will bring.”
Soccer certainly runs in the family with brother Elvis a regular feature for Melbourne Victory in the A-League and Futsal has played a big part in their development.
Pacifique is also an Ambassador for ‘One Culture Football’, you can find him and the group playing Futsal on a Friday 4.30pm – 5.45pm every Friday at STARplex.