Atraco do a double, APR snatch league
Nobody, not even themselves saw it coming in both cases. Five days after winning their tenth league title, it still hasn’t sunk in well enough that APR are indeed the champions of Rwanda, and/or that Atraco are the regional champions.
None of the two clubs can claim to have won either championship because they were the most dominant or because they deserved it. To say they both won due to the fact they were the teams with more luck than their rivals wouldn’t be an overstatement.
In sports, just like in life, you need some bit of luck to be able to succeed. Without Lady Luck smiling for you, ability alone isn’t just enough to help us do or achieve anything in life.
Atraco needed luck to even get through to the quarterfinal of the Cecafa/Kagame Cup in Sudan after making such a miserable start of two consecutive defeats, and when they reached that stage starting with KCC in the quarterfinals, Mathare Utd (semi-final) and El-Merreikh in the final, they got loads it.
But again luck alone is not enough, you need other minor factors to go your way, and still Atraco got that too.
Both Mathare and El-Merreikh beat Atraco in the group matches and by the time they met again where it mattered most, the Kenyans and Sudanese dithered, and Atraco took full advantage of their complacency to claim their first regional title on only their second attempt.
El Merreikh in final were the overwhelming favourites, especially playing at their won turf in-front of tens of thousands of their supporters but they seemed to conspire and let overconfidence take the better of them, and guess what, they lost 1-0 against an Atraco side they had beaten 6-1 just a couple of days earlier at the group stage.
As for the MTN Peace Cup success, Sam Timbe’s team were the worthy winners, they worked for it, and so deserved it as their performance in the final against a very determined Mukura Victory Sports suggested.
It was a third successive appearance in the Cup final for Atraco, who had lost the previous two to APR, the first under Sam Ssimbwa and the second with Jean Marie Ntagwabira in charge.
Over the last couple of years, Timbe has become one of the best and most respected tacticians in the region. He talks less and lets actions speak for him. He’s a very shrewd coach whose tenacity even under difficult conditions has made him a household name in his native Uganda and now Rwanda.
In a space of just five years, he has won the regional club championship with three different clubs, first with Uganda’s SC Villa in 2005, beating Rwanda’s APR 3-0 in the final, then with Ugandan Police the following year and now with Atraco. He’s the first man to achieve that kind of success.
Though, his magic failed to work against Marines, who denied him a treble. But he has won a double, and there’s doubt anyone in the Atraco camp is complaining much.
On the other hand, APR won the league on a dramatic last of the season when everything including their own result as well as their main rivals’ went in their favour. Going into the last game of the season, the military side trailed Atraco by two points, and needed to beat Mukura in Huye but hoping that their rivals fail to get all three points off Marines and it’s what happened.
They could not ride on luck any better.
First under Rene Feller then Erik Paske, APR were second favourite to win the league behind Atraco, who led the way for almost 98 percent of the season, yet on the day they needed the most luck, they got it in unprecedented levels.
May be it’s the reason, it still hasn’t suck in well that they’re actually the champions of Rwanda much as it will take a few more months of media hype for some people to accept Atraco as the regional club champions—and were only one goal away from clinching a historic treble!