Kagame Cup (Today)
APR vs TP Mazembe
Mafunzo vs Rayon Sport
HEADS will roll when APR and TP Mazembe renew their rivalry this afternoon in a game many have dubbed as a final before the final.
While both sides have already sealed their slots in the last eight after two wins apiece, Group A’s top spot is still up for grabs.
It is also the third meeting between the two sides this year. Early this year, the pair clashed in the lucrative Orange Champions League where TP Mazembe finally came through with on goal aggregates (2-1).
The first leg in Kigali had ended 1-0 in favour of APR but the African champions bounced back with a 2-0 return leg win in Lubumbashi to advance to the next round.
In the run in to today’s contest, APR coach Erik Paske has made it clear that the Champions League chapter is closed.
“I don’t want to dwell so much on what happened in the Champions League because as far as we are concerned, that is a closed chapter,” the Dutch said.
“This is Kagame Cup. We are bracing ourselves for a tough contest but we are optimistic about our chances.”
While Didier Rogba Sella is suspended for today’s tie, Paske is more than relieved to have his in-form striker Victor Nyirenda back in the side. The Malawi international did not feature in the army side’s 6-1 win over Telkom of Djibouti after being suspended.
TP Mazembe is also without three key players; Given Singuluma, Hichani Himonde and Mihayo Pamphile who are said to have regrouped with Zambia’s national side ‘Chipolopolo’ ahead of a friendly against Chile.
But Coach Diego Garzito, who has been linked with the DRC job, is confident the team can still thrive without the trio.
TP Mazembe has already showed how lethal they can be infront of goal after an 8-0 rout over Telkom. The Congolese also recorded a 2-1 win over Vital’O which gives them a healthy goal difference of nine compared to APR’s six.
In Group B, Rayon Sport will seal their quarter final slot if they win or draw against Mafunzo in the other day’s game.
The blues march into the tie with a point following their 2-all draw with St. George, who moved top of the group with four points after a comprehensive 5-0 win over Mafunzo.