National league champions APR FC flew out of the country on Wednesday evening to Johannesburg aboard Rwandair, from where they will connect to Mbabane city, Swaziland on Thursday morning for the CAF Champions League first leg clash against Mbabane Swallows FC this weekend.
The 15-time record champions APR will play at Somhlolo national stadium in Swaziland’s capital on Sunday at 3:30pm, before hosting the return leg in Kigali a fortnight later at Kigali Regional Stadium.
Head coach Emmanuel Rubona named a 19-man squad that will be seeking to reach the group stages for the first time, having been eliminated at earlier stages in previous years, according to team captain Ismail ‘Kodo’ Nshutiyamagara.
“We are all set for the game and we must win to increase our chances of qualifying to the next round and reach our target of qualifying for the group stage,” said Nshutiyampagara in an interview with Times Sport.
The military side will be making their 13th appearance in the prestigious continental competition since making their debut in 1997 and they are facing a club from Swaziland for the first time.
Last year, APR ousted Liga Desporiva of Mozambique 2-1 on aggregate in the preliminary round before losing 4-0 to Egypt’s Al Ahly in the first round.
Meanwhile, their opponents Mbabane Swallows, despite being founded in 1948, have made only five appearances in the competition, and on all five occasions, they have been eliminated in the preliminary round.
Goal Keepers: Jean Claude Ndoli and Olivier Kwizera
Defenders: Albert Ngabo, Ismael ‘Kodo’ Nshutiyamagara, Faustin Usengimana, Emery Bayisenge, Abdul Rwatubyaye, Eric Rutanga, Mitchell Rusheshangoga and Janvier Benedata.
Midfielders: Djihad Bizimana, Yannick Mukunzi, Tumaine ‘Tity’Ntamuhanga, Andrew Butera, Patrick Sibomanana and Jean Claude Iranzi.
Strikers: Bernabe Mubumbyi and Michel Ndahinduka