Rivals Rayon, Kiyovu square off on Sunday

There will be no love lost between second-placed Rayon Sports and sixth-placed Kiyovu SC when  the two old rivals clash on Sunday at Amahoro stadium in Kigali.
AS Kigali skipper Jimmy Mbaraga will lead the line against Espoir.Espoir captain Said Abed is one of the most experienced players in the league.
AS Kigali skipper Jimmy Mbaraga will lead the line against Espoir.Espoir captain Said Abed is one of the most experienced players in the league.

There will be no love lost between second-placed Rayon Sports and sixth-placed Kiyovu SC when  the two old rivals clash on Sunday at Amahoro stadium in Kigali.

Today, third-placed AS Kigali host in-form Espoir this afternoon at Stade de Kigali.

League leaders APR will fancy a win over bottom side Esperance FC on Sunday at Stade de Kigali, while Police FC, in fourth place, host lowly Gicumbi at Kicukiro ground the same day.

Victory for Andrew Gasambungo’s AS Kigali against fifth-placed Espoir would boost their confidence heading into next month’s Africa Confederation Cup preliminary round first leg clash against Burundi’s Academie Tchite. 

Now third on the league log, AS Kigali have 29 points, four behind APR and three better than Emmanuel Ruremesha’s Espoir.

Gasambungo says it will be a tough encounter but trusts his players will do the job and keep pressure on the top two teams.

“We have respect for Espoir and are not taking any chances, nonetheless, we want to maintain a good start to the second round; hopefully, we will get all three points this weekend,” he told Saturday Sport.

But his opposite number, Ruremesha, is equally optimistic. “We’re doing well and I don’t see any reason why we should not win the game. We have an experienced squad which is up to the task and ready to give AS Kigali a run for their money,” said the former Rayon Sports and Mukura coach.

In another match, on Saturday, struggling AS Muhanga, in 12th, host eighth-placed Etincelles at Stade de Muhanga.

The big game

But the most exciting tie will certainly be Rayon Sports Vs SC Kiyovu.

Regardless of the competition they meet in, a game between Rayon and Kiyovu will always get the fans expectant.

And fans will this round hope for a more open and attacking game than the first round fixture that ended goalless at the same venue.

Defending champions Rayon Sports will go into this tie without their former head coach Didier Gomes da Rosa, who suddenly threw in the towel a fortnight ago and headed straight to Cameroon to take charge of Coton Sport a fortnight ago.

However, interim coach Billy Mbusa Kombi believes he is equally up up to the task of ensuring the Blues stay in the title race.

The Nyanza-based club received a major boost as three key players have returned from injury. They include; goalie Jean Luc Ndayishimiye, and defenders Karim Nizigiyimana and Abouba Sibomana.

But Rayon will be up against Gilbert Yaounde Kanyankole’s side that thrashed Musanze 6-0 in their last league outing.

“It will be a tough test not only for the players but for us the coaches as well. However, this is the time to prove that we are able to guide Rayon Sports through this transition period,” said Kombi.

The former Rayon striker added: “I have a fully-fit squad and the mentality remains the same. We are united for the cause which is to win the title.”

SC Kiyovu are set to welcome impressive striker Ali Mousa Tsova, who has not kicked a ball since New Year’s Day due to an ankle injury.

Kanyankole told Saturday Sport: “We are facing a strong opponent, the defending champions, so we have to be well prepared. They might be seen to have problems because of the recent resignation of their coach, but I tend to disagree because all their important players are available.”

APR will be without Michel Ndahinduka while their Sunday opponents Esperance will miss the services of Innocent Twagirayezu due to suspension.

Huye-based side Mukura host Marines at Stade de Muhanga, with the latter missing two of their stars – Sudi Murangwa and Olivier Mutabaruka – through suspension. 

Musanze travel to Nyamagabe to take on Amagaju hoping to recover from that 6-0 drubbing by Kiyovu.

Sam Ssimbwa’s Police FC, without influential defender Amani Uwilingiyimana, host Gicumbi at Kicukiro stadium. Police are in fourth position with 27 points, while Jean Baptista Kayiranga’s Gicumbi are in tenth with 12 points.

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