Karekezi in tough test against his former club APR

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Rayon Sports head coach Olivier Karekezi, during the game against Police FC, he says he won't be emotional when he faces his former club, APR FC on Saturday. / Sam Ngendahimana

Saturday
AS Kigali vs Police FC 1pm
APR FC vs Rayon Sports 3:30pm

IT will be a tough test for Rayon Sports head coach Olivier Karekezi when he faces his former club APR FC in the last game of this year’s Agaciro Development Fund tournament today at Amahoro National Stadium.

The game between the two archrivals will kick off at 3:30pm, but it will be preceded by the clash between AS Kigali and Police FC at 1pm.

“Don’t expect emotions from me when I face APR on Saturday. I’m at work and it’s my duty to do it to the best of my ability. My focus will be on trying to win the game. This is my job, and in any case APR is not the only club I played for,” Karekezi said on Thursday.

The former APR FC captain and forward also noted that he doesn’t feel any extra pressure just because he is facing his former club where he started his career in 1998 before turning professional in 2005.

Karekezi vowed that after losing against AS Kigali on Saturday, he will settle for nothing less than a must win against APR that have won their first two games.

The ex-Rwandan international further added that he expects his players to put on an improved performance against APR compared to how they did in the first two games against Police FC and AS Kigali.

Rayon Sports won first game against Police FC 1-0, thanks to defender Gabriel Mugabo’s header, while Jimmy Mulisa’s APR beat AS Kigali 2-0 in the first game last Saturday before thrashing Police FC 3-1 on Wednesday.

In a separate interview, Mulisa, a former teammate of Karekezi at APR and Amavubi, explained that, “We’re gradually getting to the level we want to be before the new season begins.”

APR FC are in pole position to win this year’s Agaciro Development Fund tournament should they avoid defeat against traditional rivals Rayon Sports.

Mulisa has not lost to Rayon Sports in two meetings since he joined the military side last season and he is keen to maintain that record.

“Our goal is to win our games in this tournament and so far so good, we have won two and have one to go. We expect a very tough game today, but we will be ready for the challenge against the best team in the country,” he said.

Meanwhile, following victory over Rayon Sports, Eric Nshimiyimana’s AS Kigali are still in race for the title if they win their final game against Police FC and hope that Rayon beat APR by not more than one goal.

The Kigali City sponsored AS Kigali, who have been the biggest spenders in the current transfer window, have three points and a goal difference of +1 while Police are pointless after losing their first two games against Rayon Sports (1-0) and APR 3-1.

Rayon Sports, who also have three points and a zero goal difference, can still claim the title should they acquire maximum points against rivals APR FC, coupled with defeat for AS Kigali on the final day of the championship.

The four-team tournament is organized by the local football governing body, FERWAFA, as part of raising funds towards the Agaciro Development Fund, the country’s sovereign wealth fund.

Police FC are defending champions having won the inaugural tournament staged in 2015.

After today’s meeting, APR and Rayon Sports will face-off again in the Super Cup next Saturday at Umuganda Stadium in Rubavu district.

Rayon Sports are the reigning Azam Rwanda Premier League champions and will represent the country in the 2018 CAF Champions League, while APR FC, who claimed the Peace Cup last season, will play in the CAF Confederation Cup.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw