El Merreikh vs Rayon Sport
Kick off: 7 pm
Morale is low, the coach is giving his team no chance but Rayon Sports finally get to play their Caf Confederations Cup against El Merreikh. Initially, the match had been scheduled for Saturday but was pushed forward (to today) because of the unfortunate troubles that Rayon went through in their travel schedule.
Arriving a day before match after spending a night sleeping in the corridors of Nairobi international airport, are surely not the ideal conditions for a team going to play such a high profile game.
For the opposition, that’s already a goal scored even before a ball is kicked and given the circumstances, Rayon has lost this game before it is played, to say the least, but being football, you expect miracles happen.
El Merreikh are beaten finalists from last year and will be favourites to progress to the group stages on the expense of an already disheartened Rwanda’s representative.
Playing the first leg at home soil, the Sudanese side will be hoping to seize the opportunity and score as many goals as possible with the return leg in a fortnight’s time very much on their mind.
However, Raoul Shungu is determined never to lie down and take the beating. And in a bid to avoid conceding many, he is taking his team into the game with one thing on his mind, defend in big numbers and squeeze one on the counter-attack whenever possible.
The Congolese coach plan to deploy a conventional 4-3-1-2 formation, not an ideal system for a team looking to defend. With this formation, he’s putting out his team to play like they are home and with nothing to lose.
Our sources in Khartoum tell us that the players, despite the exasperating trip are in good shape with no injury worries for Shungu to worry about.
“The players are fine physically but a bit down mentally given the hard conditions they went through before arriving here,” a source that traveled with the team told Times Sport yesterday.
No chance for Rayon
After going through what Rayon went through before arriving in the Sudanese Capital, the always optimistic Shungu admitted that his team has no chances whatsoever to get anything from this game.
Even minus all the hardship that they went through, Rayon were always never going to expect much from the game against a side that did not only reach the final last year but has recruited massively as they seek to go a step better (than last year).
The cruelly hot weather of Sudan is never going to do Rayon any favour, if there was any expected but there is definitely good new coming through to us from Khartoum indicating that the game will be played under floodlights, kick off time, 7 pm local time.
Lomami made skipper, Al Hilal support for Rayon.
Having played for the opposition during the 2004/05 season, Jean Lomami has been made captain for today’s game.
The Rwandan international striker will lead from the front on all fronts as his partnership with fellow international Jimmy Gatete leads Rayon’s attack.
Sources further told us how Al Hilal fans; El Merreikh’s traditional rivals will be rallying behind the Rwandan side when the referee from Burundi blows the first whistle