AFTER eliminating Burundi’s Academie Tchite with a 2-1 goal aggregate, AS Kigali head coach Andre Gasambungo has hailed his team for the outstanding performance that assured the City of Kigali side a place in the first round of Caf Confederation Cup.
Leading 1-0 from the first leg, the Rwanda Peace Cup champions forced their Burundian counterparts to a 1-all draw at Prince Louis Rwagasore stadium in Bujumbura on Sunday. Gasambugo’s team will meet Alhy Shandy of Sudan in the first round.
Academie Tchite took the lead in the 55th minute through Pacifier Nduwimana but that did not deter the focus of AS Kigali which equalised on the 71st minute mark, after striker Jimmy Mbaraga scored the all-important away goal.
Before the equaliser from the team captain, the visitors dominated the midfield and piled pressure on the hosts. Skipper Mbaraga and Bodo Ndikumana, who scored the winning goal in the first leg, wasted several chances that would have killed off the game early.
“I am happy and I am sure every Rwandan is happy that AS Kigali has reached first round,” Gasambugo told Times Sport on Monday by phone from Bujumbura.
The former SEC Academy coach said the win was a big achievement not only for this club but Rwandan football in general, especially with Rayon Sports out of the Caf Champions League.
“This was an important result for us because the whole team has been excellent for the two games and we are delighted to go through without losing. We can look forward to the next round with optimism. We did our best to win this game as it was important for us and even if we did not win but we didn’t lose either, and we hope to continue to work harder because the next stage will be even harder but I believe we can pull off a surprise against the Sudanese.”
The first round first leg matches are scheduled for the weekend of February 28-March 2, while the return leg matches will be played seven days later.
While AS Kigali will continue to carry the Rwandan flag in Africa second biggest club competition, league champions Rayon Sports will have to wait yet another year to see if they can improve their poor record in Caf Champions League.
The Nyanza-based outfit squandered a two goal advantage to draw 2-2 with Congolese side AC Leopards in the return leg of their preliminary round tie at Amahoro stadium on Sunday. The first leg had ended goalless.
An own goal and a superb strike by Cedric Amissi in the first half put Rayon in the lead but AC Leopards, who reached the quarter-finals of the competition last season, scored two second half goals in quick succession through Cesail Gandze and Cisse Mahamane to dump the Rwandan champions out of the competition.