Caf Confed Cup
APR v Haras El Hodoud
Venue: Nyamirambo Stadium
APR face a tricky home test against Egyptian side Haras El Hodoud in the second round first leg of the African Confederations Cup this afternoon at Nyamirambo stadium.
The game is APR’s third in this season’s competition after eliminating Kenyan side Gor Mahia 6-0 on goals aggregate over two legs in the last round.
Coach Rene Feller concedes that the task at hand for his youthful side is exceedingly demanding but such is the striking aspect of football that each player will have to be convinced that their opponents are unbeatable.
The Dutchman remains convinced that his side will certainly win the game to have a better say when the two sides meets again in the second leg in Cairo in a fortnight.
“We must win the game (at home) by at least a 2-0 if we are to have any chances of reaching the next round,” Feller said.
The 65-year-old trainer also acknowledged that he has done his homework on Egyptian football, particularly El Hodoud and is ready to prove it this afternoon.
Feller plans to stick to his preferred tried, tested and trusted offensive style of football, which has won him many admirers and a few critics since taking over the reign from Andy Mfutila last April.
Despite keeping his cards as far as tactics and starting eleven are concerned close to the chest, Fellers is expected to go with Labama Bokota and Ndjoli Bukungu in attack while the return from professional trials in France of Haruna Niyonzima and Jean Baptiste Mugiraneza further boosts his options in the midfield.
In goal, the Dutchman is most likely to go for the more experienced Aimé Ndizeye Ndanda over Rwandan international Jean Claude Ndoli.
Hodoud, on their side have expressed their worries of facing Rwanda’s record nine-time league champions.
Head coach Tarek Al-Ashri has cautioned his players against underrating the military side, which is most remembered in Egypt for ousting Zamalek in the Champions League campaign of 2004 under the stewardship of Jean Marie Ntagwabira.
“We have to be cautious. APR defeated Zamalek before so overcoming them will not be an easy task,” Al-Ashri said, adding that his side can score a vital away goal.
“We know APR but we must play offensively to maintain culture of scoring,” Al-Ashri told this paper on Thursday, two days after arriving in the country with his team.
Hodoud got a bye to the second round while the military side thrashed Kenya’s Gor Mahia 6-0 on goal aggregates.
The match is to be handled by Eritrean officials; Ghebremichael Luelseghed (centre referee), Abreha Fanus and Yohannes Ghirmai (assistants).
Elsewhere, Confederation Cup holders, CS Sfaxien face a tricky home test against Libyan side Ahly Benghazi of Libya this weekend.
Morocco’s MAS will face Tunisia’s El Gouafel Gafsa, while Libya’s Khaleej Sert squares E.S. Setif of Algeria in another all-North African clash.
The second leg matches have been scheduled for April 3-5, with the winners progressing to the 1/8th stage.