For the first time in as far back as I can remember, the usual suspects – APR and Rayon Sports - are off to an unexpected slow start in the 2015/16 Azam Rwanda Premier League season.
The signs were there in the preseason preparations, but they were nothing to go by since both clubs have defied all types of challenges to push each other to the wire.
Years and years of disorganization at Rayon Sports seem to be finally having their toll. Since its golden year 2013 – when they lifted the much coveted league title - Rayon have only managed to spiral downwards.
They’ve lost so many important players who either see greener grass on the other side or are fed up of not being paid. And most importantly, no team can win a trophy if it fired and hired managers at will like Rayon Sports does. Not even their large fan base can save them this season.
Rayon Sports have managed seven league titles, but that’s not even half of what APR has won yet the former was founded so many years before the later. APR are the league’s pace setters with a record fifteen titles to their name since making their league debut in 1995.
They are also probably the best managed club in the country – literally every Rwandan player wishes they’d play for the club.
But when you win consistently like them, complacency soon sets in. And when there are serious newcomers who mean business, your position as a top gun gets under serious threat. That is the situation with APR.
Despite doing everything right and having the right kind of players, it suddenly seems like passion is missing at the club’s camp.
This explains why they didn’t win a single preseason trophy and have already lost what could have been an easy fixture against Mukura Victory Sports in their second match of the season in midweek.
Yesterday, they were due to face Police FC - the most on-form club in the country, and if I go by instincts (considering that this article was written before that game), that Friday result is not complimentary to APR.
Much is said about class versus form – and APR definitely has the class to see through its dry spells. But with the emergence of Police FC and AS Kigali, Rwanda’s most successful club is facing the barrel – and is likely to face a harsher round of competition than it has ever experienced in its entire history.
Police has made its statement with comfortable wins in its first two games against Mukura and Bugesera FC and they look hungrier than any other club in the league.
Other than lack of experience at the top end of the table, Police is taunted as the best pound for pound club in the league right now.
We are likely to witness a change of events, where Rayon Sports are totally blacked out among the title contenders, while APR gets a very serious contender for the time since 2013.
Mourinho should blame himself for Chelsea’s character
English Premier League champions Chelsea are known for winning ugly, thanks to a manager who is said to care for nothing but triumph.
Every time he loses, Jose Mourinho – the pioneer of “pack the bus” – is known to deflect the loss by insulting fellow coaches, referees or even his own players but never blames himself.
Last Saturday, even Arsenal haters agreed that their defeat against Chelsea was classless. Chelsea’s Diego Costa quit every form of professional football and became a barbarian, scratching, kicking and screaming at opponents.
Mourinho being the man he is; came out to defend these acts, yet a sane coach would have tried to let it go and internally warn his players against adorning a character that is disrespectful to the club he plays for.
Recently, even Mourinho’s own staff realized they were not immune to his disgusting outbursts, when he attacked first team doctor Eva Carneiro for apparently being “naïve”.
It would be interesting if Mourinho got fired for terrible manners rather than for his coaching record, but he would have brought it upon himself.