APR v Miembeni, 1pm (Dar es Salaam)
Tusker v Vital’O, 3pm (Dar)
Awassa v URA 3pm (Moro)
DAR-ES-SALAAM - Zanzibar’s Miembeni play their first Cecafa/Kagame Cup game today against APR, with the defending champions going into the game as favorites.
APR go into the match after a 2-2 draw with Yanga on Sunday, looking to keep a clean sheet and with their first team raring to go after a two-day rest.
In contrast, Miembeni hasn’t played any game since the tournament kicked off on Saturday after their first game (against APR) was postponed from yesterday to today.
APR certainly will not be making any assumptions as they are in dire need of a quarter-final spot.
“This team has learned a lot but today I have been disappointed, they have been very lazy in training,” said coach Rene Feller in reference to the players’ reaction during yesterday’s morning training session.
A team tagged as the pre-tournament’s favorite has looked good so far. Their neat-passing in the midfield created chance after chance for strikers Elias Uzamukunda and Kabange Twite, who failed to take any in the 2-2 draw against Yanga.
APR’s pedigree demands that they reach the knockout stages and, unlike the nervous Miembeni, who are an unfamiliar name in the annual tournament.
The route so far, hasn’t cost APR heavily with suspensions or injuries for players. Experienced trio Boubakary Saddou, Mbuyu Twite and Elias Ntaganda should be at hand to defend as Aloua Gaseruka didn’t make the trip.
Both Kabange and Uzamukunda are likely to start up front. Though it is not a pairing to strike fear into the heart of a top opponents’ defence, the former does posses the pace and good shots as well the aerial threat to disturb a relatively unknown Miembeni back four.
Feller is confident about his team’s chances of seeing off the Islanders, a team completely new to the opposition.
“First play beautiful football and goals will come in the process,” Feller said, adding that his side has no major injury worries going into today’s game.
Rwanda’s other representatives Rayon Sport, who were beaten 4-1 in their opening fixture against Uganda Revenue Authority on Sunday, will next be in action on Saturday against Ethiopia’s Awassa City.
Burundi representatives Vital’O arrived late for action and paid heavily for it when they were hit 2-1 by ten-man Benadir Telcom from Somalia in their Group A match in Dar es Salaam on Monday.
Vital’O arrived in Dar three hours to the match, at the end of a long road journey from Bujumbura. They made it to the National Stadium 15 minutes to kick off and hardly had time to warm up.
Edward (58) and Nune Abdi (90) were on target for the Somalian side while Kabunguku Nimuboma (89) scored for the Burundians.