AS Kigali vs Difaa El Jadida
IT’S A moment of truth for Rwanda Peace Cup champions AS Kigali as they host Morocco’s Difaa Hassani El Jadida in the first leg of the 1/8th round of the Caf Confederation Cup at Stade de Kigali.
AS Kigali scored three goals and conceded two in the preliminary and first rounds as they eliminated Burundian side Academie Tchite and Al Ahly Shendi of Sudan respectively.
Ahead of the Difaa El Jadida clash, AS Kigali coach Andre Casa Mbungo is eying to maintain a home record of not conceding a goal.
“Our strategy remains unchanged, not conceding a goal at home,” said Casa Mbungo, whose team won their two home games 1-0, drew 1-1 in Bujumbura and lost 1-0 in Khartoum.
He noted, “In the first leg we will attack as we have done in the previous home games. No one believed that we could reach this stage of the competition but we are eager to continue with the surprise.”
Other than home support and history, Mbungo will count on the experience of four Rwanda internationals Emery Mvuyekure, James Tubane, Jimmy Mbaraga and Mwemere Girinshuti to satisfy the expectant crowd which will be allowed into the stadium free of charge.
Star striker Bodo Ndikumana and impressive midfielder Muhammed Mushimiyimana will miss the fixture. Ndikumana is recovering following a road accident, while Mushimiyimana sustained a knee injury in a league clash against Police FC.
The coach will look to hand an opportunity to his young talents Justin Mico, Amin Mwizerwa, Eric Ndahayo and Emmanuel Uwimana. The second leg will be played in Casablanca in seven days’ time.
The more experienced Difaa Hassani El Jadidi will be eager not to lose and hope to finish off Rwandan representatives in Casablanca.
AS Kigali have to be aware of the in-form striker Ayoub Nanah, who will be looking to add to his five goals from the last round. Nanah scored twice in the 2-0 first-leg win before hitting a hat-trick in the second leg to hand his side a 6-0 aggregate victory over Gamtel of Gambia.
Should AS Kigali emerge overall winner over the two legs, it will become the second Rwandan club to progress through three rounds of Caf interclub competitions; a feat only attained by APR FC 11 years ago.
Elsewhere, CA Bizertin, the only one of last year’s semi-finalists to remain in the competition, travel to Warri Wolves after the Nigerian club came through a close-fought first-round tie with Union Douala 4-3 on aggregate.