First round, CAF champions league
Rayon Sports Vs Mamelodi Sundowns
Saint George Vs KCCA
Zanaco Vs Mbabane Swallows
Wydad Athletic Club Vs Williamsville AC
Aduana Vs ES Setif
MFM Vs MC Alger
Gor Mahia Vs Esperance
AS Togo Vs El Hilal
Zesco Vs ASEC Mimosas
TP Mazembe Vs UD Songo
Difaa Hassan Vs AS Vita
Primeiro de Agosto Vs Bidvest
RAYON SPORTS will have to make the most of home advantage when they face South African giants Mamelodi Sundowns in the CAF Champions League first round, first-leg clash today at Amahoro stadium – The game starts at 6pm.
Rayon advanced to the first round after edging Lydia Ludic of Burundi (2-1) on aggregate, in the preliminary round while the 2016 champions, Sundowns, did not play the preliminary round.
Returning to CAF Champions League for the first time since 2014, the Blues have never reached the group stages of the continent’s biggest club competition and will be seeking to put up a good performance ahead of the return-leg encounter scheduled for March 18 in South Africa.
“We are playing against a strong opponent, but, we are ready. We are a strong team especially in front of club supporters. It is important that we make the most out of home advantage and win the first-leg match, otherwise, we will have a tough time in South Africa,” said Rayon Sports coach Ivan Mineart.
He added that the clash against Mamelodi Sundowns is their most important game of the season so far.
“We need to win the first-leg. We need the support of home fans, I appeal to our fans and Rwandans at large to come and support the boys,” he added.
However, Mamelodi Sundowns head coach Pitso Mosimane is also not taking chances.
“We take the Champions League very seriously. Rayon is a good team, I anticipate a hard time, but we will do everything possible to overcome,” Mosimane said.
Rayon Sports are playing their third CAF Champions League in 14 years, having played their first in 2005 when they were knocked out by DR Congo’s DC Motema Pembe in the preliminary round before exiting at the same stage, again, in 2014, this time at the hands of Congo-Brazzaville’s AC Leopards.
Mamelodi Sundowns are one of Africa’s most respected football clubs.
Despite being seen off in the first round, in 2015, by eventual champions TP Mazembe of DR Congo, the South African team quickly reorganised and bounced back to win the 2016 champions league. Last year, Mosimane’s side were eliminated in quarter-finals, also at hands of eventual champions, Waydad Casablanca of Morocco.
Rayon will be without suspended star center-back Thierry Manzi, (two yellow cards), and injured forward Djabel Manishimwe while the visitors will miss the services of Soumahoro Bangaly, an Ivorian center-back.