APR can mount serious challenge for CAF silverware

Rwanda’s reining champions APR football club has embarked on early preparations for this year’s African champion’s league prized at $2 million.
Dr. joseph kamugisha
Dr. joseph kamugisha

Rwanda’s reining champions APR football club has embarked on early preparations for this year’s African champion’s league prized at $2 million.

Based on recent statistics and analysis, the army club is one of the most successful regional clubs in the recent times. Though the club was inaugurated after 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, they have won every trophy in the region.

The club is eager to win silverware in the continental soccer competitions and the CAF Champions League is the top most priority.

APR also boasts a ‘healthiest’ financial muscle amongst all clubs in the region and can attract the best players from and outside the region.

The club has already strengthened the squad in preparation for the 2012 African Champion’s League campaign. For the first time, the club has made move to recruit Brazilian players to enable them challenge favorably.

APR, who travel to Nairobi, Kenya next week to play Kenyan champions Tusker FC for the preliminary round first leg clash, has strengthened the squad in key positions.

Brazilians Douglas Lopes Carneiro, Diego Oliveira Alves and Alex de Avila Peixoto have already joined and have been included in APR’s Champions League squad.

The Brazilians will surely improve APR especially in attack and midfield; areas where the club has fallen short in big international matches.

On so many occasions and against big teams in the CAF champion’s league, APR has failed to raise their attacking standards in search for goals to advance them to next rounds of the CAF champion’s league.

The new signings will add pace, skill and experience. This time round we expect goals from APR squad to win the upcoming game and perhaps gives them a cutting edge to qualify for the next round.

APR are slight favorites to beat Tusker in the two-legged encounters. Today’s APR has strength in depth to beat any top team in the region. But can they go further on the continent?

The club also signed some good players in the likes of Habib Kavuma, Dan Wagaluka both from Uganda, Burundian pair of Selemani Ndikumana and Faty Papy. Amavubi Stars skipper Olivier Karekezi also returned to the club for a last pay day cheque.

APR has in more than four attempts failed to qualify from the preliminary phase of the CAF champions’ league against North African clubs.

In 2011, APR was eliminated from the competition in the first round after losing to Tunisia’s Club African by 6-2 goals on aggregates where as the club had fallen to DRC’s TP Mazembe in the previous year.

Worth to mention is that APR has always been drawn against tough oppositions in the preliminary rounds of Africa’s premier club competition.

Teams like Raja Casablanca of Morocco, Club Africain of Tunisia and TP Mazembe have e been built for more than 50 years. They definitely have stronger foundation than APR in so many aspects.

A club like TP Mazembe does possess a fan base which is 10 times bigger than that of APR football club. When you look at the socio-economic dynamics of football, the fan base plays a significant part of making a club successful.

Tusker is one of the best teams in East and Central Africa with massive support in Kenya but Rwandans expect a rejuvenated APR to overcome their challenge and qualify for the next round.

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