Crunch time as APR, Police face off for berth in Peace Cup semis

APR FC forward Issa Bigirimana battles for the ball with Police FC defender Hussein Habimana during a past league match at Kicukiro Stadium. Sam Ngendahimana.

Quarter-finals, second-leg

Thursday
APR    Vs    Police 3:30pm

Peace Cup holders APR, who have won the competition five times in the last eight years and a record nine times overall, face Police FC today as both hopefuls fight for a spot in semi-finals of this year’s tournament.

The two sides square off at Amahoro Stadium to determine who advances to semi-finals following their goalless draw in the first-leg last week at Kicukiro Stadium.

Albert Joel Mphande’s Police face APR without star defender Fiston Munezera who was sent off with a straight red card for head-butting APR midfielder Muhadjiri Hakizimana.

“It is going to be a very tense game for both sides, no one wants to get out of the tournament. I have spoken with my players, and they understand very well the value and magnitude of what we are fighting for. We want to win the tournament and represent the country in CAF competitions next season, and that won’t be possible if we lose tomorrow,” the Zambian-born Police coach Mphande told Times Sport in an exclusive interview on Wednesday.

The winner of the two-legged tie between the military side and law enforcers will meet Mukura VS in the round of last four, scheduled for August 3-9. The latter stormed the semi-finals on Monday after edging out Amagaju 1-0 in the last eight.

In a separate interview, APR’s Serbian coach Ljubomir Petrovic also admitted that he expects a ‘tightly contested’ clash but said his boys were physically and mentally ready.

While hosts APR need a victory to advance to the next round, a scoring draw will be enough for the 2015 winners – Police FC.

Francis Haringingo’s Mukura and the 2016 winners Rayon Sports and Nyagatare-based Sunrise booked their slots in semi-finals after edging out Amagaju, Marines and Bugesera, respectively.

Rayon Sports will face Sunrise in semifinals while Mukura will play the winner between APR and Police.

The first-leg fixtures of semi-finals are scheduled for August 3-4 while the return-leg games are to be played on August 8-9. The final and third place playoff are set for August 12.

The 2018 Peace Cup winners will – along with league champions APR – will represent Rwanda in CAF competitions in 2019.

Should the military side add Peace Cup to the league title they have already won, AS Kigali will play in the 2019 CAF Confederation Cup as Azam Rwanda Premier League’s first runners-up.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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