APR coach Ernest Brandts has conceded that his team risks playing catch up next season after failing to start pre-season training on time. The league kicks off in just over three weeks’ time.
The champions have 16 players yet to report back for pre-season training, although majority of them are in the Amavubi provisional squad, which is in residential camp ahead of next month’s 2012 CAN qualifier against Ivory Coast in Kigali.
The players in the provisional Amavubi squad include; Jean Luc Ndayishimiye, Jean Claude Ndoli, Albert Ngabo, Donatien Tuyizere, Eric Gasana, Ismail Nshutiyamagara, Heriman Ngoma and Jean Claude Iranzi.
While team captain Mbuyu Twite and his twin brother Kabanga are still on holiday in their native DR Congo, the same applies for the Malawian duo of Elvis Kafoteka and Victor Nyirenda.
The trio of Jean Baptist Mugiraneza, Kwizera Ernest and Kipson Atuheire is involved with the club’s second team taking part in the EAC Military games in Burundi.
The club’s signings Olivier Karekezi, Jimmy Mulisa, Habib Kavuma and Dan Wagaluka are not yet in the country.
“I think it will be difficult for the team to have good cohesion when the season kicks off. Although most of the players have good reason for not showing up for pre-season training, I don’t know why the others have not showed up. This certainly our competitors have an edge,” stated the Dutchman.
Next season’s league is widely expected to be the most competitive in recent years with clubs such as Rayon Sport, Police and Kiyovu beefing up their squads.