Clash of old the enemies
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DEFENDING champions Rayon Sports are in good mood and ready for Sunday’s Azam Rwanda Premier League clash against arch-rivals APR FC at Amahoro National Stadium, according to head coach Olivier Karekezi.
The new generation of coaches; Karekezi and Jimmy Mulisa of APR FC will face-off on matchday 11, kick off at 3:30pm as both men are looking to build their coaching careers after successful playing careers.
Karekezi and Mulisa are best friends and never played against each other as players but instead played together for both APR and Amavubi in the 2000s—Karekezi was also Mulisa’s best man at his wedding.
Both men want to have a successful campaign and to be able to achieve it, they know they have to win more football matches than they lose.
“In every game you need to display top-level performance and that’s what we want to do on Sunday if we are to have a chance to win,” Karekezi told Sunday Sport.
He admitted that, “It is going to be a tough game, keeping in mind that we lost the last encounter against APR. However, this is another game and we can’t continue to think about what happened in the previous match. We must work hard to ensure that we don’t repeat the same mistakes.”
The sides are separated by just one point in third and sixth positions – hosts Rayon Sports are third with 18 points, after five wins, three draws and two losses while record sixteen-time league champions APR are in sixth place with 17 points after four wins, five draws and one defeat.
Mulisa, in his second season as APR head coach and guided the army side to a 2-1 win in the Heroes Cup, noted that, “My players have developed great mental strength as team and individuals. We won the last game but that is in the past, now we are concentrating on the next match which we want to win.”
The soft-spoken Mulisa added that, “It is going to be even tougher but we have the momentum and hope that the players will keep their discipline on Sunday.”
“Our focus is to take it match-by-match, and right now our immediate focus is Rayon Sports. The mood and confidence is high. It’s a big loss for us to play without Andrew (Buteera) and Djihad (Bizimana) but I have confidence in the other players! It’s a chance for them to prove themselves.”
Since 1995, Rayon Sports and APR have created a bitter rivalry. Last year, it was the first time Karekezi faced against his former club APR where he started his playing career in 1998 until he turned professional in 2005.
It will be the 85th official match in all competitions between the two teams and the 46th league meeting since 1995. APR have managed 34 wins against Rayon Sports’ 23 while 27 games have ended in draws.
SC Kiyovu lead the table with 23 points, two ahead of second-placed AS Kigali, but five ahead of Rayon Sports and APR, who have both placed one game less. Espoir and Miloplast occupy the two relegation spots with 9 and 8 points respectively.