Why Rayon Sports can withstand Young Africans in their own backyard

Rayon Sports players gesture to the referee in the match they played against Gor Mahia. The Blues take on Tanzanian’s Young Africans on May 16. Sam Ngendahimana.

May 16

Young Africans vs Rayon

What Rayon Sports have achieved so far this season is remarkable; but they can still do better.

The Blues became the first Rwandan side to reach the group stages of any continental competition, 40 years since the Rwanda Football Federation got affiliated to CAF and FIFA after overcoming Costa do Sol of Mozambique, 3-2 on aggregate to reach the group stages of the Confederation Cup.

At this particular stage, possibilities of what they could achieve are limitless; but only if they focus on what lies ahead than what they have already attained.

The Rwandan champions are in Group D alongside Kenyan champions Gor Mahia, Tanzanian champions Young Africans and Algerian giants USM Alger.

After an unimpressive a 1-all draw at home against Gor Mahia last week in the group opener, Ivan Minneart’s Blues are hoping for an away win to Young Africans in their second game when the two sides face-off on May 16 in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. Can they pull off a win? Hell YES!

Anything less than a victory against Young Africans, will see Rayon Sports’ chances of reaching the quarter-finals dip and they know it.

On the other side, Young Africans had a poor start after getting thumped by 4-0 by USM Alger and will be looking for redemption against Rayon.

While Rayon has been financially stable in the last couple years than any other time before, they stand to earn more money if they defy the odds to reach the round of eight in August.

How both team have fared this season

Young Africans

The 27-time Tanzanian champions has had a poor run results in domestic competitions which was coupled up by a slow start in the CAF Confederation group stage. Yanga   has already lost the league title to rivals Simba who top the table with 65 points, 17 points ahead of Young Africans who are third in the 16-team competition. Azam are second with 49 points.

They are also winless in their last five games, having lost three and recorded two draws respectively.

George Lwandamina’s woes started last month with a 1-all draw in the league against Singinda United, a side that boosts two Rwandans, Micheal Rusheshangoga and Danny Usengimana.

Ever since, Young went on to lose 1-0 defeat to Ethiopia’s Welayta Dich, another 1-1 against Mbeya City before losing the Tanzanian derby against Simba 1-0 which was followed by a 4-0 routing at the hands of USM Alger in Confederation Cup last week in Algeria.

However, Young Africans will be welcoming back key players such as Kelvin Yondani, Papy Tchimbimbi, Obrey Chirwa, Ibrahim Ajibu and Thabani Kamusoko, who did not play their last two games.

Attacking midfielder, Ibrahim Ajib will be key for Yanga up front. The former Simba forward is good at creating chances and scoring and will be one of the players Rayon Sports defenders should not allow any freedom.

Young Africans have won the regional CECAFA Kagame Cup a record five times; in 1975, 1993, 1999, 2011 and 2011 respectively while Rayon Sports won it once, in 1998.

Rayon Sports

Can Rayon Sports conjure up a famous win in Tanzania? That is the question running in the minds of many Blues fans after yet another draw in the Azam Rwanda Premier League against Mukura on wednesday.

The Blues suffered a 0-0 draw against Mukura, their third consecutive draw in a span of ten days. Going into the encounter against Young Africans, Rayon stand third in the league with 36 points, eight behind leaders AS Kigali.

“If we don’t win the tie against Yanga, it will put us in a terrible position as far as the dream to quarter-finals is concerned. We need the three points and we will do everything possible to collect them.” Rayon Sports coach aid in a recent interview with Sunday Sport.

If there is anything to go by, Rayon Sports will be hoping to get the most out of their striker; Hussein ‘Tchabalala’ Shaban,  Christ Mboni and  Ismailia Diarra, who have all have proved they can score vital goals.

Just like their opponents, Rayon also have very little to celebrate from their recent games. Having only managed one win in their last seven games, in all competitions.

If it was to be given a name, the tie between Young Africans and Rayon Sports would probably be dubbed the clash of struggling titans.



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