Peace Cup 1/8th round, Today
APR vs. AS Muhanga [Kigali Regional stadium) 15.30
Police vs. Mukura (Muhanga) 15.30
Etoile de l’est vs. Amagaju (Ferwafa) 13.00
SC Kiyovu vs. Esperance (Mumena) 15.30
Gicumbi vs. Espoir (Muhanga) 13.00
SEC vs. Aspor (Kicukiro) 13.00
Musanze vs. Kirehe (Ferwafa) 15.30
AS Kigali vs. Rwamagana (Kicukiro)
THE battle for the last eight spots in the 2014 Peace Cup tournament goes underway this afternoon as giants seek to cruise through to the next round.
Seven-time Peace Cup champions APR are eager to maintain their good form as they seek to eliminate minnows AS Muhanga in a fixture which will be played later in the afternoon at Kigali Regional stadium.
Interim coach Vincent Mashami told Times Sport yesterday that despite injuries which have rocked the club, he is optimistic the remaining players will grant the team a lifeline into the quarter final stage.
Key players such as Emery Bayisenge, Olivier Kwizera and Charles Tibingana have joined midfielders Jean Claude Iranzi and Patrick Sibomana into the exit chamber after sustaining injuries in the training sessions this week.
“We are confident on reaching far in this tournament. Apart from the five injured players, I still have an effective squad which will take care of the fixture. Our objective is to win every game and be able to lift the title,” Mashami added.
His counterpart Ali Bizimungu of AS Muhanga believes he has a big challenge of dislodging APR but remains hopeful of staging a good game against the favourites APR.
“I have an-injury free squad looking forward to the game. It is going to be a tough game but we will play our usual football in order to win,” added Bizimungu.
A fierce encounter will pit Police against Mukura at Muhanga stadium. Police face former employee Alphonse Gatera who will be in charge of Mukura.
Gatera who was sacked from Police at the start of the season, managed to guide Mukura to a 3-0 win at the start of this month away to Musanze in the Turbo King Football league.
Gicumbi will also host Rusizi-based Espoir at Muhanga without suspended coach Emmanuel Ruremesha.
Gilbert Kanyankole’s SC Kiyovu host Esperance at Mumena stadium while second division sides SEC academy and Aspor will tusle it out at Kicukiro turf before Peace cup holders AS Kigali take on Rwamagana City in a 1/16th round tie which was not played on time following the latter’s engagement in African club competitions.
Ferwafa turf will play host to two matches; Etoile de l’est and Amagaju playing early in the afternoon with kick off set for 1pm before Musanze face second division outfit Kirehe at 15.30.
The annual tournament has reached the 1/8th round with Rwanda football federation yet to secure any sponsors to beef up the competition but Ferwafa remains optimistic on finding a potential sponsor before the end of this month.
Ferwafa has been in talks with several companies such as SuperSport, Eco-bank, Rwanda Development Bank, Sonarwa, Techno Mobile and Akagera Motors since the knockouts kicked off in March with nine matches played in the first round of 16, but as the tournament hits 1/8 stage it seems no agreement has been reached yet.
For four years, the tournament was co-sponsored by mobile telecommunication giant MTN-Rwanda before Imbuto Foundation took over in 2013. MTN-Rwanda sponsored the tournament to a tune of Rwf 51.4m per year since 2009 while Imbuto Foundation injected Rwf 96m last year.
The winner of the tournament will represent the country in Confederation of African Orange Cup games. AS Kigali, which is currently third in the league table, won the title last year after defeating AS Muhanga 3-0.
The tournament started with a total of 37 clubs in the first round of 1/16 group stages both from the first and second division.
Without sponsorship, the future of the Peace Cup tournament hangs in balance.