Rayon Sports have become the first Rwandan club to progress to the group stage of any CAF club competition after eliminating Clube de Desportos da Costa do Sol of Mozambique in Confederation Cup playoffs yesterday.
Despite losing the return leg 2-0, the Rwandan side advanced on a 3-2 aggregate win thanks to their emphatic 3-0 win in the first leg in Kigali on April 6.
The Mozambican side scored two first-half goals courtesy of an Isaac de Carvalho brace – in the 30th and 46th minutes – but the blues recovered in the second half to avoid an embarrassing result.
Thierry Manzi, Faustin Usengimana and Ange Mutsinzi defended well in the second half as Rayon sealed qualification to the next round.
Rayon Sports, who narrowly missed a chance to reach the group stage of the same competition last year, will earn up to $259,000 in prize money for joining 15 other clubs in the next stage.
“I am very happy with the boys,” Rayon Sports coach Ivan Minneart said after the game. “This is football and sometimes you fail to win but reach your target. I am happy for our reaction in the second half after coming short in first half.”
Rayon made a couple of good attempts at goal through Eric Rutanga, Shabani ‘Tchabalala’ Hussein, Christ Mboni and Saddam Nyandwi in the first half, while captain Eric ‘Bakame’ Ndayishimiye pulled off two great saves from Jone Feliciano and Leonard Terrance Tisdell before the break to keep Rayon Sports in the game.
In the second half, Rayon improved considerably after Ivan Mineart introduced Kevin Muhire for François ‘Master’ Mugisha, as well as Faustin Usengimana who replaced Saddam Nyandwi, and Mbondi was replaced by Ismailia Diarra.
The draw for the CAF Confederation Cup group stage is set for Saturday, April 21 at CAF headquarters in Cairo, Egypt.