Team PD W D L Pts
APR 19 14 4 1 46
Rayon Sports 19 14 1 4 43
Espoir 19 9 8 2 35
Police 19 10 4 5 34
AS Kigali 17 10 4 3 34
SC Kiyovu 19 9 6 4 33
Musanze 19 9 6 4 33
Etincelles 19 4 9 6 21
Mukura 19 5 4 10 19
Marines 19 3 5 11 14
AS Muhanga 18 3 5 10 14
Gicumbi 18 3 4 11 13
Esperance 19 3 2 14 11
Amagaju 19 2 4 13 10
HIGH-FLYING Espoir has defied preseason doubters after ascending to third place following a stunning 2-1 win against the reigning champions Rayon on Sunday at Stade de Kigali,Nyamirambo.
Only seven rounds of matches are remaining before the national super league wraps up.
Espoir finished tenth last season and was among the teams that had been predicted to struggle this season.
But Emmanuel Ruremesha’s team has defied the odds having kept in the top six from the opening day of the league before racing to third place on Sunday.
Only league leaders APR, with one defeat, have lost less than Espoir, who have only lost twice.
One of those defeats was against Rayon Sports early in the season, but they managed to make up for it when the Rusizi-based side stunned the reigning champions 2-1 on Sunday at Stade de Kigali,Nyamirambo.
Goals from Kassim Habyarimana and former Amavubi Stars striker Andre Lomami, gave the team their ninth win of the season. Coach Ruremesha could not hold back his delight after what he referred to as revenge win.
Rayon Sports captain Fuadi Ndayisenga converted a penalty on 61st minute to reduce the deficit but it wasn’t enough as the three points went to Rusizi.
“We managed to get two goals in the first half and it gave us the platform to play without much pressure in the second period. The plan was to get early goals and we did that, we really wanted to revenge for the home defeat in the first round,” Ruremesha said.
Espoir are eight points behind second-placed Rayon and a further 11 adrift of APR. Although Ruremesha’s side doesn’t stand a chance to win the league, he is determined to push for the top until end of the season.
“It will be hard to win the league because the gap between us and the two teams ahead of us is relatively huge with only seven games remaining, but I am sure we can push them to the end,” noted the former Rayon Sports and Mukura coach.
He added, “Our aim is to win every game we play or at least try to secure as many points as possible and we are on track. I am happy with our performance because no one really expected us to be where we are at this stage of the season.”
As for Rayon Sports’ Belgian coach Luc Eymael, it was his first defeat in the league since replacing Fenchman Didier Gomes d Rosa in late January.
Eymael said, “We lost the game not the league (title), and we still have seven games to play, so I don’t think this is the end of the race, but I admit it (defeat) somehow affects our hopes.”
“Espoir played well in the first half and they probably deserved to be in the lead, but overall, I think we were the better team, and we deserved something out of the game because we created so many scoring opportunities but we couldn’t finish them off,” he added.