English league is back but this is why you should keep watching Kagame Cup

Having written this article two days early, I suspect a lot more drama has unfolded in the Cecafa Kagame 2014 Cup. So far we have seen curling free kicks fly past stretching goalkeepers – the best so far was produced on Wednesday by APR’s centre-back, Emery Bayisenge, who sweetly curled a free kick home against Telecom of Djibouti. Many other good goals have been scored and I am sure fans are enjoying a blistering moment. It is really fan. The tempo is high, the refereeing isn’t bad and professionalism is being exhibited at a very high level. It is during such regional competitions that love for country overcomes love for club. The Rayon Sports fans I know have been screaming on top of their lungs whenever APR scores and vice versa. You’d think that they never argue or resent each other during domestic league games.
Ivan Mugisha
Ivan Mugisha

Having written this article two days early, I suspect a lot more drama has unfolded in the Cecafa Kagame 2014 Cup.

So far we have seen curling free kicks fly past stretching goalkeepers – the best so far was produced on Wednesday by APR’s centre-back, Emery Bayisenge, who sweetly curled a free kick home against Telecom of Djibouti.

Many other good goals have been scored and I am sure fans are enjoying a blistering moment. It is really fan. The tempo is high, the refereeing isn’t bad and professionalism is being exhibited at a very high level.

It is during such regional competitions that love for country overcomes love for club. The Rayon Sports fans I know have been screaming on top of their lungs whenever APR scores and vice versa. You’d think that they never argue or resent each other during domestic league games.

This is one area where Rwanda stands out. Much as the rivalry stays between top clubs, fans throw it away when national pride is stake, and this has enabled Rwandan clubs in Cecafa to get tremendous support.

However, don’t be fooled. If Rayon, APR and Police FC all go through to the quarter finals, they will have to compete against each other at some point.

So maybe those APR fans supporting Rayon are not doing it with the best of intentions. Probably they want to meet Rayon and inflict super pain – who knows?

All in all, this collective support has paid off, and I crave nothing more than an all-Rwandan final.

Looking at the possibilities of that happening, they are pretty high. Police eased through to the last eight despite coming in the competition as debutants, while APR are a regional giant and Rayon Sports have had good fortunes of their own.

Nonetheless, this competition is likely to suffer once the English Premier League kicks off this Saturday afternoon. All the attention will be fixed on the mightier English sides and Cecafa stadiums are likely to be almost empty.

While Rayon Sports tussle it out against Atlabara of South Sudan today, all sports joints will be tuned in to the Premier League. How sad!

It means that the talent of Rayon Sports’ fullback Karim Nizigiyimana will largely go unnoticed, yet on any given Sunday, the superb Burundi international can put in a better showing than several players plying their trade in the Premier League.

Such are the kind of frustrations African football has had to contend with for decades.

Personally, I am going to focus on Cecafa. I have had too much joy, so many good goals to watch – and I can’t throw it all away just because Wayne Rooney is back in action.

Even better, it is not a matter of either that or this – you don’t have to abandon our own boys because both competitions can be followed without difficult.  

There are challenges definitely and it is true that the qualities between both leagues are on different scales. Nonetheless, I have learnt to appreciate our own and I hope every Rwandan does.

@RushAfrican on Twitter

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