APR vs Vital’O (opener)
RWANDA’S football giants APR know that a convincing result against Vital’O this afternoon is what they need to boost their confidence as they chase for a third Kagame Cup title.
TP Mazembe and Telkom of Djibouti complete the group (A) and APR head coach Erik Paske reckons that a win will do them a lot of good.
“For such tournaments, it is always important to get off to a good start,” the Dutch said.
While Abbas Rassou could play a part in today’s game, Malawi international Chikuepo Msowoya who has been undergoing trials at Kaizer Chiefs in South Africa has been overlooked for the game on grounds of his fitness.
Didier Kapet and Didier Sella Rogba are also major doubts after sustaining knocks in yesterday’s training session.
“It is not what we had hoped for but we have to move on and find a plan B,” Paske added.
Paske’s assistant Eric Nshimiyimana has meanwhile warned the players not to underestimate their Burundian counterparts.
“This is a Cup game so it is about the team which is best prepared. The team which plays the best football takes the day.”
The game will be preceded by a series of ceremonies including an award to President Paul Kagame for his role in the fight against Malaria. (It’s an anti-malaria campaign award).
After today’s game, APR play Telkom on Wednesday before winding up their group games with a toughie against TP Mazembe on May 22.
Each of APR’s last two Kagame Cup titles came at home, something which should give Paske confidence.
In 2004, Jean Marie Ntagwabira guided APR to their first Kagame Cup honours after beating Kenya’s Ulinzi 3-1 in the final.
Three years later, the club was back at it, this time edging Uganda Revenue Authority (URA). At the time, the club was under the tutelage of Congolese coach Andy Mfutila.
Other teams in contention this year include Rayon Sport, Heartland (Nigeria), St. George (Ethiopia) and Mafunzo (Zanzibar) in Pool B and reigning champions Atraco, URA, Sofapaka (Kenya) and Simba (Tanzania) in Pool C.