APR will bid to maintain their fine form this season when they defend top spot against fourth-placed AS Kigali this afternoon at Stade de Kigali, Nyamirambo starting at 3:30pm.
AS Kigali, who slipped from third to fourth position with a 1-1 draw against fifth-placed Espoir last weekend and were leapfrogged by Police, host the army side, who thrashed bottom side Esperance 3-0.
APR lead the league table standing with 36 points, six points ahead of AS Kigali after 15 rounds of matches played this season. While APR have lost just once in the league this season, AS Kigali have lost three times, and ironically, APR’s only loss (1-0) was against AS Kigali.
Andreas Spier will be without influential defender Emery Bayisenge who is on suspension. Bayisenge netted two penalties in the 3-0 win over Esperance.
AS Kigali coach Andre Gasambungo told Saturday Sport, “My players are well prepared and are up to the task. We are looking forward to the match with a positive mind, hoping to bag maximum points.”
“We will be up against the top team in the country but I am optimistic that my players will give APR a run for their money. We are well motivated and eager to prove that AS Kigali is ready for Africa Confederations Cup,” he noted.
However, the former SEC Academy coach reserved a word of caution for the match referee, Hudu Munyemana, “All we ask for from the referee is for him to be fair on both sides. If he handles the match very well, and I hope he will, then fans should expect a good game.”
The military side goes into today’s game with a not very good record over the City of Kigali-sponsored club, having lost three of their last four meetings in the league and Peace Cup.
However, assistant captain Jean Baptiste Mugiraneza believes this was due to the fact that players were still trying to get to know each other, and he expects a different outcome this time round.
“It’s true we lost to AS Kigali last season but I am very sure that we know what we want this season. We are more familiar with each other and we are determined to extend our good form by winning today’s game,” the Rwandan international said.
Elsewhere on Saturday, third-placed Police FC, with 30 points, travel to the Northern Province for a date against seventh placed Musanze with 25 points.
Police coach Sam Ssimbwa may hand striker Jerome Sina his debut. The DR Congo-born Rwandan international was cleared by the Rwanda Football Federation after the Cops side emerged victors in the player’s transfer saga with rivals Rayon Sports.
The defending champions, Rayon Sports, who are second with 34 points, face neighbours AS Muhanga in Muhanga as they bid to exert pressure on APR.
New coach Luc Eymael is expected to handle his first match after agreeing terms with Rayon Sport on Thursday night.
The Belgian will be assisted by Billy Mbusa Kombi, who won his two matches in charge as interim coach against Gicumbi and SC Kiyovu following the resignation of French coach Didier Gomes da Rosa.
Fifth-placed Espoir host Marines in Rusizi aiming at bagging maximum points to increase their hopes of finishing in the top four.
Should Espoir win and AS Kigali lose, Emmanuel Ruremesha’s team will find themselves into the top four after this weekend matches.
SC Kiyovu, who lost to Rayon Sports last weekend 3-1, play away to their former coach Jean Baptiste Kayiranga led Gicumbi in Gicumbi.
Ninth-placed Mukura travel to Rubavu to face Etincelles at Umuganda stadium, while at the other end of the table, the two relegation threatened side Esperance and Amagaju faceoff at Mumena stadium. Amagaju and Esperance are ranked 13th and 14th with seven points each.Follow https://twitter.com/BonnieMugabe