AS Kigali head coach, Andre Casa Mbungo has called on stakeholders in local football to think beyond Rwanda’s borders if the country is to achieve anything tangible on the continent at club and country levels.
The Kigali City-sponsored club was eliminated from this year’s Caf Confederation Cup in the second round on 3-1 goal aggregate against Moroccan side Difaa El Jadida last month. The Rwanda Peace Cup champions won the first leg 1-0 in Kigali but lost 3-0 in the return leg.
Casa Mbungo, whose team played six, won three, drew one and lost two on their debut appearance in the continent’s second most biggest club competition, attributed his team’s heavy loss in Casablanca to lack of experience.
No Rwandan club has ever reached the group stages of any Caf competition – the Caf Confederation and Champions League, but the AS Kigali coach believes it is possible to break that jinx in the near future.
“I am happy with where we reached but at the same time disappointed because we did reach far due of lack of experience in these competitions. If we had reached the next round, it would have been another bit of history not only for AS Kigali FC but Rwandan football in general,” Casa Mbugo told Times Sport last week.
The former SEC Academy coach noted that all stake holders in Rwandan football need to work together to lift the game to a level where the national team and clubs can be able to compete favourably on the continent.
“We need to give serious consideration to these competitions because we can gain a lot from playing against bigger teams—the only way to play against them is by reaching far in African competitions. Reaching the second round was an important achievement for us but we don’t want to sit down that everything is ok, we will continue to work hard so that we are better prepared the next time we return to the big stage,” he said
To reach the first round, AS Kigali eliminated Burundian side Academie Tchite 2-1 on goal aggregate in the qualifying stage.
They won the first leg 1-0 in Kigali and drew 1-1 in the second leg in Bujumbura to draw Sudanese Al Ahly Shendi in the first round.
Against Ahly Shendi, they defied odds and progressed to the second round by winning the first leg 1-0 in Kigali before losing the return leg by the same score in Khartoum, but prevailed 5-4 on penalties.
It was the first time that a Rwandan club has reached the second round of the Caf Confederation Cup. In 2005, APR was eliminated in the 1/16th round by Egyptian side Al Ismaily.