‘God helped me’ – Gael Bigirimana says faith got him through Hibs spell on sidelines

Gael Bigirimana has explained how his faith in God helped him cope with being left on the sidelines at Hibs in the second half of last season.

Tuesday, 4th June 2019, 6:30 am
Gael Bigirimana only played once for Hibs back in February against Aberdeen. Pic: SNS

The 25-year-old midfielder moved to Easter Road on a short-term deal on the last day of January at a time when they had no manager following the departure of Neil Lennon.

However, Bigirimana managed only one substitute appearance, against Aberdeen under caretaker pair Eddie May and Grant Murray in early February, before falling out of the picture when Paul Heckingbottom arrived.

After being an unused sub for the Yorkhsireman’s first five games, the Burundi internationalist found himself unable to even make the match-day squad in the closing two months of the campaign even though he was fit throughout.

“I was frustrated because I wasn’t able to serve the club where it matters, on the pitch playing first-team matches,” he told the Evening News.

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“It was very frustrating not just for me but for my wife. She follows my career very closely, so when I am not playing it affects her, which I hate! But that also gave me motivation to keep fit and stay in the right frame of mind during that time.

“But more than anything, our faith is what strengthens us and helps me to give my team-mates 100 per cent in training even if I’m not selected. Without my God, I would have given up, not only on Hibs but on my career, a long time ago. I am thankful to my God for the experience at Hibs.”

Bigirimana featured regularly for Motherwell in the first half of the season, but he has no regrets about cutting short his time at Fir Park, where he had a contract until this summer. “No, not at all. I believe that I have to walk by faith, not by sight, and that my steps are directed by God. Everything happens for a reason and my time in Scotland has grown me spiritually.

“I missed the Motherwell boys and the staff but because I trust my God I don’t regret leaving.”

Now a free agent, Bigirimana, the former Newcastle United and Coventry City player, said he hopes his next move will take him to “a club that understands me and my importance in the team”.