The 2023 Peace Cup competition was expected to produce exciting football moments on and off the pitch but, agonizingly, clubs are losing interest in the tournament as some top teams that were penciled to make their mark in the competition continue to withdraw. ALSO READ: AS Kigali pull out of 2023 Peace Cup Defending champions AS Kigali were the first to opt out followed by Gasogi and on Wednesday, March 8, Rayon Sports also followed suit in what is seen as a worrying development considering the trio could have lighted the competition in quality, intensity, color and glamor. ALSO READ:Rayon Sports withdraw from 2023 Peace Cup Certainly, there are various reasons why teams are losing interest in the Peace Cup tournament that Weekend Sport had to pick from. The intensity of the league Unlike previous years when the point margin between APR and other teams was wide, this year’s title race has been a tight one. Some teams feel combining the league and Peace Cup could affect them as they may not have a squad in depth. Injuries can occur, numerous trips to play games countrywide and fatigue among any other factors. In the end, they decide to drop out and focus on the league title instead. Poor publicity The Peace Cup is not given much publicity. Although the winner goes to the CAF Confederation Cup, the publicity and coverage is low. Unlike the topflight league in which football governing body (FERWAFA) streams matches on their YouTube channel, they only show the Peace Cup games from the semifinals. This affects mileage and marketing of players and products as clubs don’t get the needed coverage as long as they don't go far in the competition. Poor organization, coordination The organization of the competition this year was not the best and communication remained a major issue. Rayon Sports controversially withdrew from 2023 Peace Cup just minutes before their last 16 second leg tie against Intare FC on Wednesday, March 8, at Bugesera Stadium. Coach Francis Haringingo and his men were on their way to the stadium in Nyamata for the match when football governing body (Ferwafa) emailed the club management that their match was rescheduled to Friday, March 10, same venue in a late communication that club president Jean Fidèle Uwayezu described as ‘beyond imagination’. Some of these developments make clubs lose interest in the competition and focus on the League which is obviously way more structured, just like Rayon did to focus on AS Kigali crunch tie. Uwayezu claimed that the club wasn’t ready to play two games in 48 hours which, he said would affect the club’s results. Lack of sponsorship The Peace Cup should get a headline sponsor which will pump money into the competition. If clubs receive appearance fees from sponsors, certainly none of them will withdraw from the tournament, it will instead give them a motivation to participate. It will also cut down financial burdens on some of the teams that travel to honor their games. The Peace Cup tournament, the country’s second biggest football competition, brings together topflight and second tier teams who all vie for supremacy and the chance to represent the nation in the CAF Confederation Cup. The competition was established by the Rwandan Football Federation (Ferwafa) in 1975 as under the name of Rwandan Cup before the name later changed to Peace Cup in 1995 as a tool to foster unity, peace and harmony among Rwandans after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. In the competition’s 48-year history, APR FC remain the most successful club with as many as 13 titles followed by arch rivals Rayon Sports with 10 titles. Aside from the glittering trophy and the chance to play African club football, the competition also offers financial reward. During the 2021/22 season, AS Kigali took a cash prize of Rwf10 million for winning the Peace Cup.