APR FC back coach Mulisa despite slump

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Jimmy Mulisa still has the backing of his bosses despite APR not winning in the last four league matches and falling behind leaders Rayon Sports in the title race. Sam Ngendahimana

Sunday

Mukura 3-2 Espoir
SC Kiyovu 0-1 Kirehe FC
Sunrise FC 1-0 Etincelles
APR FC 1-1 Pepiniere
Amagaju 1-0 Marines

Friday
Police FC 2-2 Musanze

Under-fire APR FC head coach Jimmy Mulisa still has the backing of the club management, despite the team dropping more points against lowly sides in their bid to retain the league title, according to the club secretary general, Adolphe Kalisa.

“We don’t think the team is not doing well because of the coach, and he enjoys full support from the club (management) as we analyse why we continue to drop points against lower teams. It cannot be the coach’s problem,” Kalisa told Times Sport on Monday.

APR FC’s poor run in the league hit yet another low after the reigning champions were surprisingly held to 1-1 draw against bottom side Pepiniere at Stade de Kigali on Sunday.

Striker Michael Nduwimana put Pepiniere ahead in the 45th minute while APR, chasing a record 17th league title, equalised through midfielder Maxime Sekamana in the 75th minute.

This was the fourth time in a row that military side have dropped points to teams in the bottom half of the table—it includes a 1-0 loss against Gicumbi FC, a 1-all draw against Musanze and a barren draw against Kirehe.

APR were eliminated from the CAF Champions League by Zambian side Zanaco at the preliminary qualification round. Mulisa’s team also drew against Bugesera (1-1) and against Amagaju (1-1) before beating Mukura 3-2.

Kalisa added that, “Losing games cannot be faulted on the coach alone; it could be it’s a combination of so many factors. Everyone needs to ask themselves if they’re indeed doing their best to see that the team can turn things around.”

Following the latest draw, APR, with 41 points, remain in the second spot, two points behind their archrivals Rayon Sports, who also have played three matches less.

“We have played five matches without a win, so it obviously shows that the players have lost a little bit of their confidence, and because they are playing with a lot of pressure, they end up making mistakes that otherwise they would not be making,” said Mulisa after Sunday’s game.

He added, “I am doing all I can to get back our confidence but the players know what we need and they are willing to perform better as you have seen today, we dominated and created more (scoring) chances.”

Elsewhere, Mukura defeated Espoir 3-2 at Huye Stadium courtesy of goal from Ally Niyonzima, Christopher Bukuru and Cedrick Samba while Albert Wilondja and Ally Mbogo netted for Espoir FC.

Amagaju beat Marines 1-0 at Nyagisenyi ground in Nyamagabe, thanks to the lone goal from Yves Foe Bakatola in the 8th minute.

At Mumena stadium, Aloys Kanamugire’s SC Kiyovu continued to slip down the table to 13th after losing 0-1 against Kirehe FC thanks to Benjamin Ndagijimana’s strike, while Andre Casa Mbungo’s Sunrise FC beat Entincelle 1-0 in Nyagatare courtesy of Fred Etienne’s first half strike.

Leader Rayon Sports will play their postponed game against Bugesera FC on Wednesday before facing AS Kigali at the weekend and Sunrise FC next week.

If Djuma Masudi’s team win the three games in hand, they will go 11 points clear at the top and probably way too far ahead to be caught by anyone in the title race.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

League table
Team PD W D L Pts
Rayon Sports 18 13 4 1 43
APR FC 21 11 8 2 41
Police FC 21 11 7 3 40
AS Kigali 19 12 3 4 39
Musanze 21 9 6 6 33
Bugesera 20 8 8 4 32
Espoir 21 6 9 6 27
Etincelles 21 7 5 9 26
Sunrise FC 20 6 7 7 25
Kirehe FC 21 6 7 8 25
Amagaju 21 7 4 10 25
Mukura 21 5 8 08 23
Kiyovu 21 5 6 10 21
Marines 21 5 4 12 19
Gicumbi 20 3 5 12 14
Pepiniere 21 2 5 14 11