KHARTOUM, SUDAN - IN the history of the regional Cecafa/ Kagame Club Championship, no team has started so poorly and then recovered let alone win the trophy like Sam Timbe’s troops did on Sunday.
Atraco got their campaign off to a low start both on and off the pitch. On the pitch, they succumbed to a humiliating 1-6 defeat against hosts and tournament favourites El Merreikh while they were also rocked in a row with their controversial and want away winger Joseph Kabagambe.
The Ugandan International dominated headlined when he forged release documents so that he could join Sudanese side Al-Neer.
As if that was not enough, the team looked very un-fit after preparing for less than two weeks.
They started with a 6-1 loss to El Merreikh, fell 2-1 to Kenya’s Mathare United before eventually getting their act together to brush aside Kartileh of Djibouti 5-0 and squeeze through to the quarter finals.
No one gave them a chance against Uganda’s KCC FC who had topped Group B with maximum points after defeating the fancied Congolese out-fit TP Mazembe, Prisons of Tanzania and Somalia’s Bernadir.
But the national league champions made light work of the much hyped Ugandan side knocking them out after a compelling 4-0 win.
Next in line was Mathare United who had already beaten them in the group stage, but Atraco still had the better of the Kenyan side following a tense 2-1 victory.
In the final, few anticipated an Atraco win especially bearing in mind that the taxi-men side had already lost twice to El Merreikh.
On top of their humiliating defeat at the group stage, El Merreikh had also ejected Atraco from the CAF Champions League on goal aggregates (2-1).
However, Sam Timbe and his troops were up to the task and did just that when Atraco’s leading goal scorer in the tournament Hamis Kitagenda put his side ahead after 15 minutes.
Atraco held onto their win to become only the third Rwandan club to win the competition after Rayon Sport and APR.
The winning team bagged US$50,000, while the runners-ups picked US$30,000, and DR Congo’s TP Mazembe who beat Mathare United 2-0 won US$20,000.
TP Mazembe’s Kabangu Mulota (seven goals) won the top score’s trophy and US$1,000 worth of prize money while his team mate and captain Tresor Mabi Mputu won the US$2,000 award for player of the tournament.