Rayon’s Gomes urges focus in tightest league in years

Rayon Sports head coach Didier Gomes da Rosa has challenged his players not to take their foot off the gas in their pursuit of a second successive league title after humiliating Esperance 5-0 and effectively snatching  the top spot on Boxing Day.
Police FC's strikers Peter Kagabo (L) and Kipson Atuheire (R) celebrate during the 6-0 demolition of another Rubavu team, Etinceles. Saturday Sport / T. Kisambira.
Police FC's strikers Peter Kagabo (L) and Kipson Atuheire (R) celebrate during the 6-0 demolition of another Rubavu team, Etinceles. Saturday Sport / T. Kisambira.

Rayon Sports head coach Didier Gomes da Rosa has challenged his players not to take their foot off the gas in their pursuit of a second successive league title after humiliating Esperance 5-0 and effectively snatching  the top spot on Boxing Day.

“We are doing well and I hope we will even do much better in the coming days. I have enjoyed every moment so far but we have to continue working hard so can maintain our title charge,” the Frenchman told Saturday Sport.

The defending champions took full advantage of APR’s goalless draw with Espoir to storm to the summit of the national football league after 12 rounds of matches.

However, APR have one game in hand – against another resurgent side, SC Kiyovu – which will be played on January 5.

Rayon’s conquest of struggling Esperance took the champions to the summit the first time this season, with 25 points, toppling their archrivals APR who dropped to second  with 24 points.

Burundian Cedric Amissi scored first for the blues on the 12th minute, added a second on the half-hour mark, before completing his hat-trick on the 80th minute.

Rwanda international Djamar Mwiseneza scored the third goal on the 40th minute with Meddie Kagere putting the icing on the cake from the spot on the 52nd minute.

Rayon Sport will visit Musanze Football Club on Sunday and a win will keep them at the summit at the halfway mark of the season. The top spot has changed hands twice (among three team) over the last one week or so.

Gomes says his side has yet to play their best football, predicting that their best days lie ahead “They (players) have got the experience to play in big matches, and I am optimistic my team will continue to improve as the season progresses, we have not yet hit our top form.”

“We have generally played good football, so to be ahead of the other teams after 12 matches is a good return for us, I don’t see anything strange with the situation, the only thing we have to do is to stay focused and play our game” he stated.

“We are on the top of the table, but we cannot afford to take our foot off the gas, the players are aware that they need to stay focused because we still have a long way to the end of the season,” Gomes added.

Fifth-placed Musanze are three points behind Rayon Sports and the champions, who have seven league wins under their belt, will be up against a team that has won just one match less than them with a good home record.

“The top five or six teams are capable of winning the league, so we need to be focused and keep our feet on the ground because, as we have seen this season, you can easily lose top spot and actually fall a couple of places behind,” stated the Rayon coach.

Against Esperance, he said, it was a comfortable win but “we expect a much tougher challenge at Musanze who have an impressive home record.”

While Rayon Sports will be looking for a third successive win, Musanze coach Hussein Barrack would have other ideas when the champions come to town.

He said: “We have done well so far and I hope we will continue to do well for the rest of the season and Sunday’s game will give us a clear indication of where we’re standing in terms of capacity to compete with teams at the top.”

Rayon are keen to go into the New Year while at the top of the table but we have to stay on our feet and remain calm ahead of the game, he added.

“We are a good side with experienced players so we need to be ready for the game and try to get points from the champions” he noted.

“Our position has been a result of hard work and determination and we hope to improve by the day.”

Elsewhere, second-placed APR will be hoping to return to winning ways when they travel to Muhanga in the Southern Province to take on AS Muhanga.

Sam Ssimbwa’s Police FC, fresh from an emphatic 6-1 victory over AS Muhanga, will try to win back to back matches for the first time this season when they travel to unpredictable Marines in Rubavu.

Gilbert Yaoundé Kanyankore’s resurgent Kiyovu SC, in fourth place, will square off against third-placed AS Kigali at Stade de Kigali. The two teams are separated by just one point and a win for either of them means a lot.

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