Esperance vs Rayon Sports 3:30pm
Marines vs Gicumbi
AS Muhanga vs Police
Espoir vs APR
Amagaju vs Mukura
SC Kiyovu vs Etincelles
Musanze vs AS Kigali
APR FC midfielder Jean Baptiste ‘Migi’ Mugiraneza has expressed confidence ahead of their much anticipated clash against Espoir in the penultimate league matches of the season this afternoon in Rusizi. A win for APR today could mean that they are the 2014 champions. Vincent Mashami’s side is aware that three points today could seal a record extending 14th league title in 20 years.
The league leaders go into today’s match two points ahead of second-placed Rayon Sports. Rayon will take on relegation-threatened Esperance FC at the Kigali Regional Stadium.
Looking ahead of probably the most important game of their season Mugiraneza who is APR’s vice captain and one of most experienced players says the team is well prepared for this match.
“Everyone on the team is aware of the importance of today’s game against Espoir, and so we will all be out to fight to get a win,” Mugiraneza told Saturday Sport before the military side departed for Kigali on Thursday.
“We don’t want to make any mistake in these remaining two matches. As one of the senior players, I know I have a bigger responsibility and so I have to use my experience, along with the rest of the team to make sure we deliver,” added the Rwanda international.
APR raced to the top of the table after cruising to a 3-0 win over Amagaju while rivals Rayon Sports dropped points in the 1-all draw against AS Kigali last week.
“Last week we did the job, we played well and yes, winning motivated us even more going into the next game. Every match at this stage is a must win,” added Mugiraneza.
Coach Mashami will be welcoming back key defender Emery Bayisenge and striker Michel Ndahinduka who missed last week’s match due to injuries.
However, Tumaine Ntamuhanga and Herve Rugwiro will miss today’s match through suspension.
Arch rivals Rayon Sports will try to gather some energy and get back to the normal business on the field after last week’s disastrous end to the 1-all draw against Andre Casa Mbungo’s AS Kigali.
The draw resulted into violent scenes and lead striker Cedric Amissi was given a straight red card for attacking match referee Gervais Munyanziza at the end of the game.
Head coach Luc Eymael, who was at the fore of the incident faces a tough task against a rejuvenated Esperance, who want a win to avoid relegation.
Esperance will go into today’s clash against the reigning champions confident of pulling off a shock win following their 1-1 draw against Peace Cup winners AS Kigali in mid-week at Mumena stadium.
League debutants Esperance, who had spent the entire season in the bottom two, are currently in 12th position with 20 points, and need three more points to stay in the top flight division.
Rayon Sports who have 56 points, know they have to win their remaining matches to have any chance to retain the title and hope that APR falters.
Fight for third
AS Kigali continue to fight for their third place as they travel to Musanze, while fourth-paced Police, who were beaten by Espoir 3-2 last week, face second-from-bottom side AS Muhanga at Stade de Muhanga.
Though he has already given up on the league title, Ugandan tactician Sam Ssimbwa needs maximum points to keep his side motivated for the Peace Cup which the Cops have made their main priority. Striker Peter Kagabo is a major absentee for today’s match.
AS Muhanga coach Ali Bizimungu faces a tough task convincing his players to play after going three months without getting their salaries. On Thursday, players decided not to train or play any match until the club management sorts the issue of their salaries.
Gicumbi, who beat AS Muhanga 3-0 last week seek to extend their run for points when they play away to Marines in Rubavu.
Coach Jean Baptiste Kayiranga’s side which sits ninth with 24 points faces Marines without two of his influential players Antoine Kakule and Vincent Habamahoro, who are both suspended.
Marines who sit tenth, tied on 20 points with Esperance go into today’s match without suspended skipper Bonaventure Hategikimana.
Nyamagabe-based club Amagaju, who sit at the bottom of the table, host improved Mukura in search for maximum points to enable them stay in the main league.
They have 17 points and need at least four points from their last two matches to escape relegation but also holding on the hope that AS Muhanga, Esperance and Marines drop a couple of points. Amagaju coach Godfroid Okoko will be without suspended goal keeper Ismail Mfashingabo.
Interim Mukura coach Alphonse Gatera has so far managed to register two crucial wins for Huye-based club since he took over from Burundian Cedric Kaze.
Gatera has helped Mukura improve to eighth position with 25 points and will be gunning for maximum points. Mukura’s star striker Claude Nahimana will miss today’s match due to suspension. Sixth-placed SC Kiyovu host Etincelles at Mumena. Coach Gilbert Kanyankole will be without goalkeeper Andre Mpazimpaka and suspended trio of Yussuf Lule, Christian Mbirizi and Othieno Deogratius.
Cedric Amissi Rayon Sports 13
Yeka Wai Musanze FC 12
Julius Bakaburindi Kiyovu SC 10
K Meddie Agere Rayon Sports 9
Jeacques Tuyisenge Police FC 9
Fouadi Ndayisenga Rayon Sports 8
Michel Ndahinduka APR FC 8