Clash of the titans as Rayon, APR face off

There will be no love lost when league leaders APR FC take on second-placed Rayon Sports in the national football league today at the Amahoro National Stadium in Remera, Kigali.
Rayon Sports striker Davis Kasirye tries to go past APR's left-back Eric Rutanga in the first round fixture that ended goalless. (File)
Rayon Sports striker Davis Kasirye tries to go past APR's left-back Eric Rutanga in the first round fixture that ended goalless. (File)

Tuesday

Amagaju Fc vs Musanze 3:30pm
Espoir FC vs Marines FC
Police FC vs Sunrise FC
SC Kiyovu vs AS Kigali
Mukura VS vs Gicumbi FC
AS Muhanga vs Etincelles
APR FC vs Rayon Sports 6pm

There will be no love lost when league leaders APR FC take on second-placed Rayon Sports in the national football league today at the Amahoro National Stadium in Remera, Kigali. 

APR are top of the table with 46 points, four ahead of Rayon Sports after 20 rounds of matches, with the latter having played a game less.

Nazir Khanfir’s side have won 14, drawn fiour and lost two of their matches this season, while Djuma Masudi’s Rayon Sports have won 12, drawn six and lost one, but also have a game in hand against Etincelles.

APR’s Tunisian tactician is likely to start with striker Michel Ndahinduka, who scored his first goal of the season against Rwamagana City on Saturday after an injury that kept him out of action for a long time.  Top scorer Jean Claude Iranzi has scored five goals for the club.

Meanwhile, Rayon Sports interim head coach Masudi, whose team remain unbeaten in eight matches since he took over in early March, will count on the on-form Ugandan striker Davis Kasirye, who has scored nine goals and Malian international, Ismailia Diarra, with six goals.

Masudi will have a tough task to choose which of the three foreigner players to start with among Kasirye, Diarra, Burundian Pierrot Kwizera, who has also netted six goals this season and Congolese midfielder Fabrice Mugheni.

“It’s going to be a tough match. They (APR) like playing a passing game, but we will come with our game-plan to win the game,” former Rayon Sports striker said.

 “We are strong technically, mentally and physically, and so we believe we can win the game against APR,” added Masudi, who faces APR for the first time as coach after being involved in so many battles against them as a player in the late 90s and early 2000s.

APR captain Ismail Nshutiyamagara, who is likely to start on the bench as it has been the case since Khanfir took over, believes that winning the game will greatly improve their chances of retaining the league title.

He said, “We’ll be up against tough opponents who are also doing very well at the moment, but we’re always ready for these big battles, so hopefully we will win.”

APR midfielder Djihad Bizimana will miss the clash against his former club, while Rayon Sports will be without defending midfielder Olivier Seff Niyonzima through suspension.

Rayon Sports are bidding for their 8th league title overall and the first since 2013, which they won under Frenchman Didier Gomes da Rosa, while APR are seeking a record-extending 16th title in 22 years.

Since 1995, both sides have met 75 times in official matches with Rayon Sports winning 23 and APR 30 while the other 22 matches have ended in draws.

Last season, APR beat Rayon Sports 1-0 in the first round under Andy Mfutila 1-0 and 4-0 in the second round under interim coach, Sosthene Habimana. This season’s corresponding fixture ended goalless.

SC Kiyovu, AS Kigali clash

As APR and Rayon Sports square-off at Amahoro National Stadium, there will be the small matter to settle between two Nyamirambo-based rivals, SC Kiyovu and AS Kigali at Mumena stadium.

Rejuvenated SC Kiyovu go into the game, in third place with 38 points, three better than their opponents, who sit in fourth place. In the first round, both sides played goalless at Kigali Regional Stadium.

SC Kiyovu have not lost in last seven games—they won the last game 2-1 against Marines while AS Kigali have only won once in the last seven, that win coming against lowly AS Muhanga, 2-1 on Saturday.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

 

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