This headline sounds stupid, doesn’t it? Yeah it does, and the whole idea of it may sound rather outrageous to APR supporters but it’s my opinion. Marines came to frustrate Atraco and the latter fell in the trap.
Had Marines lost on the final day of the season, Atraco and not APR would be the champions regardless of what could have happened in Huye, but the fact is they didn’t, APR claimed a tenth league crown despite odds being against them.
Atraco missed a great opportunity to have their name entered in the history books of Rwandan football, and my conscience tells me they may never ever get another chance to win three trophies in one season.
It’s said, one man’s loss is another man’s gain, so as Atraco licked their wounds for failing to score just one goal they needed against Marines to retain the title, APR were on the other side rewriting history after claiming their tenth league crown in 15 years.
After winning the 2009 Cecafa/Kagame Cup and also holding with a two points lead over APR in the race for the league title as well as being in the final of the MTN Peace Cup, everyone, no, not everyone but at least almost everyone thought this is Atraco’s year to do a treble, but wapi.
Much as football earned its name as the beautiful game, it can decide to be as cruel as anything—Atraco fans, players, coaches but most importantly the administrators could not believe it as a second league title slipped through their fingers.
Yet, the number one mistake they did was to celebrate (the league success) even before a ball was kicked. They came at Amahoro stadium for the last game of the season in full party mood; some were dressed to ‘kill’ while others were just enjoying taking a dig at their rivals, particularly Rayon Sport and APR.
Atraco chairman Col (Rtd) Ludovic Twahirwa Dodo came in early and took his seat in the VIP section and you could see the joy on his face as he positioned himself at the centre on the first row of the VIP seats ready to lift the glittering trophy, which was lying just a meter or so in-front of him—he didn’t anticipate what was about to happen.
But it was the president of Atraco fans’ club, one Van Dame, who I genuinely felt sorry for after all the confidence and morale he brought to the stadium.
He was smart in his own right (all black and nicely matching dark brown leather shoes) and blowing for his team but I wish you could see his face when the final whistle went.
It was the lowest I have seen a local fan after his team had lost. For a man, who just 90 minutes earlier was the happiest and probably the most outspoken inside the stadium, to leave the way he left, I really felt for him.
He practically looked deflected in his seat next to the club’s influential vice president Issa Ngezi—they must have been the last people to leave the stadium.
Atraco came into the game needing to win by any margin to retain the league regardless of what happened in the game between Mukura and APR yet all they could manage was a goalless draw against a Marines side that came to just pack the bus in-front of their goal, which they managed successfully.
At the final whistle, they celebrated as if it was them and not APR, who had won the league! The coach Ibrahim Mugisha was lifted high in the air by jubilant APR fans, his players hugged each other while others joined the fans for a lap of honour.
Before the game, some had predicted a 5-0 win for Atraco but at the end of the day, Sam Timbe’s team couldn’t get even one.
Big is big!
Congratulations to APR but particularly to the coach Erik Paske, who I have all a long dismissed as not being the right man for the job.
Credit to Paske’s team for finishing off their job, unlike Atraco, who decided to dither at a time when they needed to produce the goods.
APR needed to win their match and hoped that Atraco failed to, and that’s exactly what happened.
The last day drama showed me the difference between a big team and a small one.
I’m not in any way saying Atraco are a small team but they’re not APR and the climax to this year’s league campaign just proved that the military side is still the team to beat.
Schumi is back!
Michael Schumacher is making a come back in the seat of a F1 car. Personally, I am thrilled to see him return even at 40.
Some people are saying he does not have the ability to cut it anymore especially after over two years out of the sport, however to see him line up again is an honour to any F1 Fan.
A true legend of the sport and arguably the best there has ever been, I can’t wait to see him in the seat of that Ferrari for the European grand prix in Valencia. I just hope he has still retained some of the ‘hunger’ for victory that he always had before he retired.