Mbungo says Kiyovu are still in title race

Kiyovu head Coach Andre Casa Mbungo has warned his side can't be written off in the title race. Sam Ngendahimana.

Wednesday

Marines Vs Kiyovu

Saturday
Kiyovu 2-1 Sunrise
Bugesera 1-1 Espoir
Kirehe 0-0 Gicumbi
Police 3-0 Miroplast

Despite falling four points behind leaders AS Kigali, Kiyovu head coach André Casa Mbungo has insisted his team remain in the hunt for the Azam Rwanda Premier League title this season.

Kiyovu overcame Sunrise 2-1 in a closely contested match over the weekend at Mumena stadium in Nyamirambo. Their win took them to third on the table and narrowed the gap between them and leaders AS Kigali to four points and brought them to within three points of second-placed APR. 

However, the green and white outfit have played two games more than AS Kigali (42 points) and one more than 16-time record champions APR with 41 points.

The result saw Kiyovu leapfrog defending champions Rayon Sports with the former amassing 38 points from 22 league games.

Rayon Sports, who are busy with continental football and saw their game against Amagaju that was initially scheduled last Saturday postponed at the last minute, are fourth on the table with 36 points and three games at hand. 

In Kiyovu’s weekend win, forward Djuma Nizeyimana opened the scoring for the hosts after 8 minutes before Nigerian striker Alexi Orotomal netted an equaliser for the visitors in the 48th minute.

With several opportunities created, either side could have scored a second goal to take the lead but it was not until former Rwanda international Andre Lomami handed Kiyovu the winning goal in the 83rd minute with a beautiful header, thanks to a sumptuous cross from Nizeyimana.

“We are only four points adrift of table leaders, with eight games to play. Everything is still possible. We are hoping to win all our remaining fixtures. It is a very ambitious target but that’s what it would take for us to win the league,” Mbungo told Times Sport on Monday. 

Kiyovu, who were relegated to second football tier last year but somehow returned to topflight football after a freshly promoted side withdrew from league football, have this season enjoyed one of their best football in a while, and Mbungo is confident his side can defy the odds and go on to win their first league title in 25 years.

“The title race is still wide open, there are no favourites yet at this stage. But I am optimistic and think we have what it takes. We've shown throughout the season that we'll not lie down for anybody,” the former national team coach noted.

Kiyovu were the surprise early pace setters early in the season.

Sunrise’s defeat means that the Eastern Province’s side remained in the eighth position with 27 points, three ahead of Mukura, Musanze and Kirehe, who sit in ninth, tenth and eleventh, respectively. 

In other matches played on Saturday, Police thrashed struggling Miroplast 3-0, Bugesera and Espoir played out a 1-all draw, while Gicumbi and Kirehe shared goalless spoils.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

 

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