True champions have to get results against the best. Unfortunately, Espoir’s title ambitions this year have kept falling apart after losing to some of the top sides in the league.
The 2004 champions have looked far from true title challengers after going down against arch-rivals APR and Rusizi in the last two outings.
Of the two defeats, the one against APR was the most hurting because of the historical rivalry between the two clubs while losing to Rusizi at home (Rafiki) did not make things any better.
And although some will argue that it’s still too early to make conclusions, Espoir’s task of redeeming their status as one of big guns in the country is getting heavier by the day. After failing to lure Uganda’s sensational Norman Blick to the club and losing two other top players to Ugandan clubs, the club has struggled to revive its glorious past days.
Valery Uwineza, who is arguably the most experienced player in the Espoir side and who was expected to lead the club’s fight back has had a low start to begin with. After four league games, Uwineza has an average less than 10 points for Espoir. His role has surprisingly been assumed by Claude Bizimungu, who has been at the forefront of Espoir’s game. Leaving other factors constant, Uwineza has to play a big role for Espoir if they are to have any meaningful attempt for the 2008 campaign.
Of course some will argue that the league is still in its infancy stage but if you look at the statistics for past leagues, it is clear that winning sides have always had good starts.
After witnessing a two-horse race in the league over the last couple of years, the trend was broken when Marine won the 2007 title but that could also change this year. This year’s title race could even be more fascinating because on top of the defending champions Marine, CSK A and the usual suspects APR, Rusizi and Espoir cannot be written off.
Let’s wait and see!