It’s Now-or-Never as Rayon face Sundowns

RAYON Sports will need a win or a scoring draw to oust South African giants Mamelodi Sundowns in CAF Champions League first round, second leg on Sunday evening at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria –starting at 7pm.
Skippers Eric Ndayishimiye of Rayon Sports and his Sundowns counterpart, Kekana Hlompho exchange their teams’ flag before the first leg match. S. Ngendahimana
Skippers Eric Ndayishimiye of Rayon Sports and his Sundowns counterpart, Kekana Hlompho exchange their teams’ flag before the first leg match. S. Ngendahimana

Sunday
Mamelodi vs Rayon Sports 7pm SS4 (Agg. 0-0)

RAYON Sports will need a win or a scoring draw to oust South African giants Mamelodi Sundowns in CAF Champions League first round, second leg on Sunday evening at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria –starting at 7pm.

Azam Rwanda Premier League champions, Rayon Sports and the 2016 African champions, Mamelodi Sundowns shared the spoils in an entertaining goalless draw in the first leg on March 7 at Amahoro National Stadium.

Should Rayon Sports do the needful, a “tough task to pull off” as admitted by head coach Ivan Minneart, they will become the first Rwandan team to reach group stages of the continent’s biggest club football competition.

Despite enjoying much of the ball possession, especially in the first-half of the first-leg contest, Pitso Masomane’s men failed to convert a number of clear opportunities and will be looking to avoid the same mistake at home.

“We must win it by hook or crook. We have to grind the results on Sunday (today). Advancing to the group stage is a step forward in the chase for Champions League title,” Mamelodi’s technician Masomane was quoted in South African media.

Anything less than victory, will see Sundowns’ dream of reclaiming the continental championship in jeopardy. Last year, Mamelodi were eliminated by eventual winners Wydad Casablanca of Morocco in the c quarter-finals.

Before jetting off to South Africa on Saturday morning, Rayon Sports’ Belgian tactician Minneart was in confident mood, saying that “the players are fit, motivated and equipped” for the showdown against one of the finest football clubs on the continent.

According to unconfirmed reports, Rayon Sports’ players have been promised Rwf1 million each, should they eliminate Sundowns and advance to the next stage.

CAF Champions League’s first round consists of 32 teams. The 16 winners advance to the group stage while the 16 losers enter the confederation cup play-off round. The draw for the group stage will be held on March 21.

The 16 teams, all aggregate winners of the first round, are drawn into four groups of four. Each group is played on a home-and-away round-robin basis, where group leaders and first runners-up automatically qualify for the round of last eight.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

 

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