Fragile APR face tough test against Sunrise FC

Defending champions APR FC will be in for a tough test when they take on Sunrise FC in the national league on Saturday afternoon at Nyagatare ground in Nyagatare district.
APR FC will welcome back midfielder Muhadjiri Hakizimana (R), who has been out of action since January with an ankle injury. S. Ngendahimana. File.
APR FC will welcome back midfielder Muhadjiri Hakizimana (R), who has been out of action since January with an ankle injury. S. Ngendahimana. File.

Saturday

SC Kiyovu vs Etincelles 3:30pm
Police FC vs Pepiniere
Sunrise FC vs APR FC
Amagaju vs Bugesera
Espoir vs Kirehe FC

Sunday
Mukura vs Marines 3:30pm
Musanze vs AS Kigali

Defending champions APR FC will be in for a tough test when they take on Sunrise FC in the national league on Saturday afternoon at Nyagatare ground in Nyagatare district.

Eighth-placed Sunrise FC have little to lose having more or less secured their status in the topflight division next season, but they will come into the game seeking to frustrate the 16-time winners, according to the head coach Andre Casa Mbungo.

The Nyagatare-based side has improved significantly since Mbungo took over as head coach replacing Nigerian Andrew Ibeh. Sunrise are eighth on the league table with 26 points and a win will see them jump to seventh place if Espoir drop points against Kirehe FC when they meet in Rusizi.

“We want to win the game because we need to move up the table. It is a big test against APR because they are a big team and defending champions, who are aiming to close the gap on top,” Mbungo said in a phone interview.

Mbungo, who will be without Nigerian striker Alex Ortomel, due to sickness, noted that, “Our plan is to win the game and we are ready for the challenge. Players must show character to win against the top teams.”

Jimmy Mulisa’s side face an uphill task going into the game having struggled to perform at their best in second half of the season – the military side are second with 44 points, 11 points behind leaders Rayon Sports and just one point above Police FC and AS Kigali, who are third and fourth respectively.

The champions will miss the service of injured midfielders Andrew Buteera as well as full-back Emmanuel Imanishimwe, striker Blaise Itangishaka while forward Issa Bigirimana, APR’s top scorer with five goals was suspended by the club for travelling to Burundi without permission.

However, Mulisa will welcome back influential midfielder Muhadjiri Hakizimana, who has been out of action since January with an ankle injury.

Before damaging his ankle in training, the 22-year-old Rwanda international was a first choice starter in the APR midfield.

With eight league matches remaining, Rayon Sports, who have only lost once – against APR – this season, have now won 17 matches, five more wins than their archrivals.

To win the title APR will need to win all their remaining games and hope that Djuma Masudi’s team lose grip, something that looks increasingly unlikely as Rayon Sports need 13 points from eight matches to win the league for the second time since the 2012/13 season.

Elsewhere, third-placed Police FC will host league bottom side Pepiniere FC at Kicukiro stadium, while AS Kigali, who are fourth, will be away to fifth-placed Musanze FC on Sunday.

Coach Aloys Kanamugire’s SC Kiyovu, struggling in 13th place with 22 points, four above the relegation zone, face ninth-placed Etincelles (26 points) at Mumena stadium on Saturday. Sixth-ranked Bugesera FC will travel to Nyamagabe to take on Amagaju, who are in 10th position.

Mukura Victory Sports (12th) will host third from bottom Marines FC at Huye Stadium. Victory for Marines would see them leapfrog Kiyovu while Mukura will need to win to go five points clear of the relegation zone.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

 

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