Richard Bakundakabo, the head coach of second division side Etoile de l’Est, has insisted that earning promotion to next season’s Rwanda Premier League is top priority for this team.
Come September when competitive action resumes, nearly six months after sports activities were suspended in prevention of Covid-19 spread, Etoile will start their quest against Amagaju in the quarter-finals of the playoffs.
Etoile finished the shortened regular season as leaders of Group B with 23 points from nine matches.
Speaking to Times Sport, Bakundakabo noted that his side has been in the lower tier for long enough and will be ‘doing their very best’ to play topflight football next season.
"We finished unbeaten as Group B leaders – 7 wins and 2 draws, that’s the momentum we want to maintain when the playoffs start in September," he said. "After many years in the second division, this is a good chance for us to secure a ticket to the premier league."
"I think we have great potential going into the playoffs, but, we have to remain humble and hungry in our bid for the promotion. We must not get ahead of ourselves until the mission is accomplished."
To boost their chances of a spot into next season’s top division, Etoile de l’Est completed the signing of vastly experienced defender Fabrice Twagizimana, a former skipper for Rwanda Premier League side Police and, according to reports, they are in search for more big signings.
The two teams that will reach the playoffs final will automatically replace Heroes FC and Gicumbi, who were relegated from the topflight league in May.
In the last eight round of playoffs, group leaders face the fourth-placed side in the other pool, with second and third-placed teams squaring off in the other encounters.
Etoile de l’Est were eliminated by Heroes FC in the semi-finals of the 2018-19 playoffs.
Pool A: Rutsiro, Gorilla, Interforce and Amagaju
Pool B: Etoile de l’Est, Vision, Rwamagana and Alpha