Rayon turn focus to CAF Champs League
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After losing to archrivals APR 2-1 in Heroes Cup tournament, Rayon Sports head coach Olivier Karekezi has turned his focus to the CAF Champions League preliminary round clash against Burundi’s Lydia Lydic Academic.
The first leg match will be played on the weekend of February 10-11 in Bujumbura, while the second leg will be staged on February 20-21 in Kigali.
Karekezi said that they have to forget what happened against APR and switch attention to the continental tie and the Azam Rwanda Premier League, which will return on Feb, 14 against Musanze FC at Kigali Stadium.
Rayon Sports won the 2018 Heroes Cup despite losing 2-1 to APR FC at a fully packed Amahoro National Stadium on Thursday.
“It is simple; we did not play our usual game that’s why we lost. But I am happy we have managed to win the tournament despite losing today. Now my focus is on the CAF Champions League against Lydia Lydic Academic and league matches,” Karekezi said during a post-match interview.
The former APR and Amavubi skipper admitted that, “It is not good to lose against APR when you are at Rayon Sports but we have to look at the future.”
Looking at the CAF Champions League tie against the Burundian champions, Karekezi said, “The game will be tough but we have to make sure that we prepare well so that we’re ready.”
“We want to reach to the first round, which will be even tougher but we have to compete with big teams to reach at highest level in Africa,” he added.
If the Azam Rwanda Premier League champions qualify for the first round, they will have a mountain to climb against the 2016 champions Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa.
Against APR, in the Heroes Cup, new signing Hussein ‘Tchabalala’ Shaban put Rayon Sports in the lead after just four minutes with a powerful header from a well taken free kick by Pierrot Kwizera.
But Jimmy Mulisa’s APR returned for the second half much-improved and equalized in the 62nd minute through midfielder Muhadjir Hakizimana from a wonderful free kick before striker Issa Bigirimana, who came on to replace Jean Claude Iranzi, netted the winning goal in the 77th minute.
Rayon Sports are fourth in the league with 15 points, five behind leaders SC Kiyovu while AS Kigali are in second place with 18 points, and record 16-time winners APR are third, three points behind the leaders after ten rounds of matches.