MTN Peace Cup
Semifinal First leg
Atraco v Rayon
HEADS are set to roll when two of Rwanda’s top clubs Atraco and Rayon Sport face-off this afternoon in the second semi-final of this year’s MTN Peace Cup at Amahoro national stadium.
The blues must win today’s crunch tie not only to have the upper hand heading into the return leg but also to appease club fans who are getting impatient after three years of silverware impotence.
Rayon’s last piece of silverware dates back in 2005, when they thrashed Mukura 3-0 in the final to win the Peace Cup, then Amahoro Peace Cup.
Since then, the club has been hampered by football politics which recently resulted into the sacking of club coach and fans’ favourite Raoul Shungu.
Ahead of today’s tie, Rayon’s interim coach Baptiste Kayiranga reckons that his team has to be at their best to tame a spirited Atraco side, fresh from winning the 2009 Cecafa/Kagame Cup in Sudan.
After watching Atraco’s MTN Peace Cup quarter-final tie with Police, Kayiranga noted that the best way to keep the taxi-men side quiet is by closely marking the trio of Johnson Bagoole, Peter Kagabo and Captain Shyaka Jean.
“They are dangerous players and can completely disorganize the opposition so we have to try and keep them calm,” Kayiranga said.
“They seemed fatigued against Police and I think we can capitalize on that as well.” However, Sam Timbe believes that an injury free Atraco can take on any side.
“All our remaining matches are very important, and of course fatigue may creep in, but I have prepared the team for that,” Timbe said adding, “After winning the Cecafa Cup, the team is full of confidence and to me, there is no better preparation for such an important match.”
Atraco reached this stage after a 2-0 goal aggregate win over Police while six-time Peace Cup winners Rayon Sport routed Electrogaz 7-0.
Migi saves APR faces
In the first semi-final on Saturday, APR survived what would have been a humiliating defeat against a determined and well-organized Mukura at the fully packed Nyamirambo regional stadium.
The reigning champions had Jean Mugiraneza ‘Migi’ to thank when the midfielder scored six minutes from stoppage time to secure a 2-2 draw.
APR had opened the scoring on the 13th minute through Jabir Mutarambirwa before the visitors equalised seven minutes later through Meddie Kagere.
In the second half, APR’s Burundian right back Karim Nzeyimana scored an own goal to put Mukura on top but Mugiraneza saved the military side with a well-taken header off Mutarambirwa’s cross.
APR now have to dig out a win in second leg this Saturday’s to qualify for the final. The two sides meet again four days later (July 29) in a league clash in Huye.
The nine-time league champions are two points adrift of Atraco and know that anything but six points from their remaining two fixtures will give them hope of regaining the league title.
This year’s winner will pocket Rwf 10m, while the second, third and fourth teams will bag Rwf 7m,Rwf 4m and Rwf 2.5m courtesy of tournaments sponsors MTN Rwanda.