MukuraVictory Sports head coach Francis Haringingo has praised his players after edging out holders APR to reach their first Peace Cup final in nearly ten years.
The last time that the Huye District-sponsored side was in the final of the country’s second biggest football tournament was in 2009 when they lost 1-0 to now-defunct Atraco FC.
A second half strike from Uganda-born forward Rachid Mutebi was enough to send APR packing as both sides played out a 1-all draw in the return-leg at Kigali Stadium on Wednesday.
Mukura also held APR in a goalless draw in the first-leg clash at Huye Stadium last week.
“This is historic for me, the players, and the club in general. I am happy and proud of how the players kept the composure even after conceding early, this is a well-deserved ticket to the final,” Mukura’s Burundian tactician Haringingo told Times Sport yesterday.
“We, however, need to work hard and improve further because a final is always different from other games. We are one step close to CAF Confederation Cup, that’s where we are setting our sights. We will fight with all we got to win the Peace Cup title,” he added.
APR opened the scoring after six minutes with a fantastic header from Martin Fabrice Twagizimana to take an early lead, which they would hold onto until 17 minutes to stoppage time when Mutebi leveled from Said Iragire’s long pass.
“We had been waiting for this moment, especially the fans,” the former Vital’O coach noted.
Despite having won the tournament four times – when it was stillRwandan Cup – Mukura are yet to win the title in the post-1994 era.
The club’s last triumph in the tournament came in 1990 when they beat Steel (now defunct) 4-3 on penalty shootouts in the final following a goalless draw in regular time.
Mukura came close to clinching the title in 1999 but lost to APR 4-2 on penalties to mark the military side’s first Peace Cup title. The two sides had shared goalless spoils in regular time.
Six years later, the black and yellow outfit found themselves back in the final again, only to lose 3-0 at the hands of Rayon Sports.