With three games into the second round of the national football league, second-placed APR face a major obstacle when they take on Police FC on Sunday at Stade de Kigali, Nyamirambo.
The army side will be without head coach Andreas Spier, who was suspended by his club for five matches over indecent behavior following his dismissal from the touchline during a league clash against AS Kigali last weekend.
In his absence, assistant Vincent Mashami will be in charge in what promises to be a tightly contested match against Sam Ssimbwa’s third-placed on-form Police FC.
This season’s title race is turning out to be the closest it has been in years, with four teams, including reigning champions and table leaders Rayon Sports, APR, Police and AS Kigali, all standing a chance to lift the title.
After dropping two points to AS Kigali, APR who are chasing a record-extending 14th league title, will face a confident Police side, who stand six points behind on the table.
Rayon Sports are not in action this weekend on the local scene, as they are due to play away in the CAF Champions League against Congo Brazzville’s AC Leopards in the preliminary round, first leg on tomorrow.
With Rayon Sports not playing in the local league this weekend, APR have the chance to reclaim top spot with a win over Police.
“It is going to be a tough game but my players are ready for the challenge. The atmosphere in camp is positive and everyone has shown the willingness to work for a win,” said acting head coach Mashami.
The youthful coach warned that it won’t be an easy game.
“But I am sure we can win in-front of our fans. The club’s ambition is to win the title and we will have to see how the other teams go about their business, but our most immediate target is victory over Police,” stated the former Isonga FC coach.
However, while Mashami found time to give Saturday Sport an interview, his Police counterpart, Sam Ssimbwa was unable to give any comment when contacted, saying he was busy in training.
Both APR and Police have picked seven points from a possible nine since the start of the second round.
Elsewhere, fifth-placed Espoir, who are just one point behind Police and fourth-placed AS Kigali, can leapfrog Police in third place if the Cops lose and Emmanuel Ruremesha’s side overcome SC Kiyovu in sixth place, at Mumena stadium.
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Seventh-placed Musanze will be hoping to beat AS Muhanga in Musanze to close the gap on teams above them in the table. Musanze held Police to goalless draw last weekend; while second from bottom AS Muhanga were beaten 2-4 at home by the champions.
Bottom side Esperance, with only two wins all season, will make the journey to the Western Province to face eighth-placed Etincelles FC, who thrashed Mukura 3-0 last weekend at Umuganda stadium.
Gicumbi FC will try to take advantage of Mukura’s poor home record to climb up the table from tenth position.