APR are the champions!
THEY have done it again. APR FC yesterday claimed their 13th Primus League title in 17 years after rivals Police FC blew up their chances of winning their first ever title when they lost to Mukura at Kicukiro grounds.
Having played all their games, with a five-point cushion over Police who had two games in hand – including yesterday’s – APR won the league on the day they did not kick a ball.
Police needed to win the two ties – against Mukura and Isonga – to be crowned champions, but their heartbreaking defeat yesterday means that they will have only pride to play for when they meet the enterprising Isonga side on Friday.
The law and order enforcers, whose collapse in the final stages of this year’s season sent shockwaves across local football fraternity, will now have to wait for next season to try to win their maiden Primus League trophy in their 11 years of existence.
Police, who were the huge favourites going into yesterday’s encounter, struggled to overturn a 1-0 deficit against Mukura –ironically courtesy of former APR striker Emmanuel Sebanani a.k.a Crespo’s exquisite 20th strike – but couldn’t break the resistance of the Huye-based club. Sebanani surged from 30 yards, dribbling past Ugandan defender Deo Othieno before unleashing an unstoppable shot past Police custodian Evaresti Mutuyimana.
Yet that may have been Mukura’s only shot on goal throughout the game. As expected Police dominated the next 70 minutes of play, as they frantically looked for an equalizer in vein.
To worsen matters for the team that had topped the league standings for the better half of the season, central defender Gilbert Kaze was sent off for elbowing Gabriel Mugabo within five minutes of regulation time.
The result was a huge disappointment to coach Goran Kopunovic, who had hoped to break the team’s trophy jinx, and indeed to their growing fan-base.
The defeat saw Mukura leapfrogging Police by two points to claim the second position – at least for 48 hours – with the former title contenders relegated to the third place, on 47 points.
Police must now beat Isonga in their last game on Friday to finish second on the Primus league standings. If APR goes on to win the MTN Peace Cup in July, and Police finishes second in the league, both sides with represent Rwanda in African club competitions.
The loss for Police handed bragging rights to defending champions APR as they claimed their incredible 13th league title in 17 years. Having played their last game against Nyanza FC on Saturday, the military side wrapped up the season with 52 points.
APR will now be crowned champions on Friday at Stade de Kigali – the scheduled venue for the final game of the season – between the hugely demoralized Police and Isonga, who boast the majority of the country’s U-20 national players.
In other matches played yesterday, Rayon Sport sealed their fourth place with a 1-0 victory over struggling La Jeunesse at Stade de Kigali; SC Kiyovu suffered a 0-1 loss away to Amagaju in Nyamagabe but still finished in fifth position, while Etincelles won the Western Province derby with a 2-0 victory over neighbours Marines in Rubavu.
Espoir, the only relegated side this season lost 0-1 at home against Nyanza, with AS Kigali playing a 1-all draw against Isonga at Ferwafa turf in Remera.
The 2012-13 Primus League season will be comprised of 14 teams following recent promotion of AS Muhanga and Musanze FC.
Contact email: bonnie.mugabe[at]newtimes.co.rw