LACK OF EXPERIENCE was all that cut short AS Kigali’s chances of progressing to the play-off round of the 2014 Africa Confederation Cup.
The Kigali City-sponsored club lost 3-0 to Moroccan giants Difaa El Jadida in the return leg of the 1/8th round of the continental competition played yesterday at Stade El Abdi in Jadida.
Coach Andre Casa Mbungo’s team that went in the game needing to protect their slim 1-0 win aggregate attained in the first leg played a week ago in Kigali, played a convincing first half but things turned from good to bad in the second half.
Second half goals from Zakaria Hadraf, Naby Soumaa and Ahmed Chagou on 48th, 73rd and 78th minutes were enough to grant Difaa El Jadida a place in the play-off round and deny Rwandans a historical achievement in as far as Caf club competitions are concerned.
Mbungo, who did not have his first choice goalie Emery Mvuyekure due to suspension, entrusted Regis Ingabire to undertake the tasks but poor defensive communication between James Tubane, Hakiri Mabula and Patrick Umwungeri gifted the Moroccans with sweet victory.
To reach the first round, AS Kigali, who are playing in this competition for the second time since making their debut in 2002, eliminated Burundian side Academie Tchite 2-1 on goal aggregate.
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 of the Caf Confederation Cup, winning the second leg in Khartoum 5-4 on penalties after a 1-all aggregate draw.
It’s the first time that a Rwandan club has reached the second round of Africa’s second biggest club competition. In 2005, APR was eliminated in the 1/16th round by Egyptian side Al Ismaily.
No Rwandan club has ever reached any Caf tournament group stage – the Caf Confederation and Champions League.