CAF Conf Cup: Our target is to win all our home games – Minneart

Rayon Sports players celebrate their victory over Costa de Sol at Kigali Stadium last month. Sam Ngendahimana.


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USM Alger Vs Rayon Sports

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Rayon Sport Vs Young Africans

Rayon Sports head coach Ivan Minneart has expressed optimism for his side to win the first-leg clash against Kenya’s Gor Mahia in Group D opener of the CAF Confederation Cup come Sunday at Kigali Regional Stadium in Nyamirambo.

“I have no fear for Gor Mahia. The chase for the ticket to quarter-finals starts Sunday, and we can’t afford a false start. Like in all our home games, we are going to do everything possible to get a win,” Minneart told Saturday Sport in an exclusive interview.

The Belgian-born tactician has cautioned players not to rely on home advantage but rather focus on playing their A Game with purpose.

“The target is to win as many games as possible. All the three home games are a must-win, then we fight hard for away points.” He added.

The Blues will be boosted by the return of midfielder Pierrot Kwizera and forward Caleb Bimenyimana, who missed the return-leg against Mozambique’s Costa do Sol in the play-off round in Maputo, which Rayon lost 2-0 but progressed courtesy of a 3-0 victory in the first-leg tie in Kigali.

Rayon Sports will be looking to making history of reaching quarter-finals of the CAF Confederation Cup for the very first time, three weeks after also becoming the first Rwandan club to reach group stages in any CAF Competition.

Kenyan Premier League Champions Gor Mahia were scheduled to land at Kigali International Airport this morning and have a light training session at Stade de Kigali in the afternoon to have a feel of the pitch ahead of Sunday’s much anticipated encounter.

The team, which boosts two Amavubi forwards Jacques Tuyisenge and Meddie Kagere, has intensified training ahead of the crucial continental assignment and their head coach Dylan Kerr is confident for a positive result.

Kerr has acknowledged the striking prowess of Rayon Sports but expressed confidence in his boys.

“I watched them play and one thing I picked out is that they have a very good attack but their defence is not very mobile. We need to look at how we can take advantage of that but at the same time be careful with our defence on counter attack,” the coach said.

Two weeks before the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, Rayon Sports beat Al Hilal of Sudan, 4-1 at Amahoro National Stadium in the first leg but unfortunately did not travel to Sudan for the second leg, which saw the Sudanese giants advance to the round of sixteen of the CAF Confederation Cup, formerly African Cup Winners’ Cup.

Ever since, the 8-time champions have struggled to impress, both on the regional or continental scene, having only managed the 1998 CECAFA Kagame Cup as the sole non-domestic silverware in their trophy cabinet.

The club has appeared seven times in CAF Champions League, three times in CAF Confederation Cup, two times in CAF Cup and four times in CAF Cup Winners’ Cup but the furthest they reached is quarter-finals at the 2002 CAF Cup (now defunct).

Locally, Rayon Sports have won eight league titles and clinched the Peace Cup seven times, making them the second most successful side behind arch-rivals APR.

Gor have a better record on the continent

Commonly known as K’Ogalo, Gor Mahia have won the Kenyan Premier League a record 16 times, three more titles than their bitter rivals AFC Leopards.

On the continental stage, Gor has a better track record than Rayon Sports. To date, they remain the only team from Kenya and the CECAFA region to have won an African continental title, having won the African Cup Winners’ Cup in 1987.

The Nairobi-based green and white side reached the quarter-finals of the CAF Champions league (former African Cup of Champion clubs) in 1993 and has won the regional CECAFA championship three times; in 1981, 1982 and 1985.

Prize money

By making it to the group stage, Rayon Sports won themselves a Rwf222 million from CAF and are guaranteed of Rwf303 million if they progress to quarter-finals.

Semi-finalists of CAF Confederation Cup earn Rwf363 million, first runners-up Rwf505 million, with the eventual winners pocketing a cool Rwf1 billion.

The winners of the 2018 CAF Confederation Cup will play the winners of the 2018 CAF Champions League in the 2019 CAF Super Cup.

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