MUKURA Victory Sports head coach Francis Haringingo has heaped praise on his players following their Peace Cup win over Rayon Sports at Kigali Stadium on Sunday.
Mukura beat Rayon Sports 3-1 on penalties to clinch their first major title in 26 years after the two sides played out a goalless draw in over 120 minutes; 90 minutes of regular time and a 30-minute extra time.
Mukura had not won any major title since the 1992 Peace Cup, formerly Rwandan Cup.
By winning the country’s second biggest football tournament, Haringingo’s side sealed a spot in next season’s CAF Confederation Cup.
“Our primary target was to win the title (Peace Cup), for the first time in 26 years, and as soon as we achieved that, then we set bigger goals for next season. In the meantime, I can’t hide my satisfaction with the way we are going about our business.” Haringingo told Times Sport on Sunday.
Haringingo, who has had a below par maiden campaign with Mukura in the league where they finished in 13th position on the 16-team table, said that the Huye-based side finally ended their trophy drought and now can dream to join Rwanda’s elite clubs.
He also says, “Now I have proved I am the right man for the job after doing something that many failed to pull off in over 26 years. I don’t think this is the best we can do, we can be better.”
Haringingo underlined that Mukura had a more difficult journey to the final relative to their opponents, Rayon Sports, and that instilled confidence in them that they can overcome anyone.
The black–and–yellow outfit edged out AS Kigali in the last sixteen, Amagaju in quarter-finals before stunning then holders APR in the round of last four.
“Everyone (players) put in their best, I can’t be more proud of my boys. Overcoming all the top clubs in the country to win the title is no mean feat, this is the beginning of something bigger,” the Burundian tactician noted.
Haringingo explained to Times Sport that to introduce Aime Regis Ingabire in place of Omar Rwabugiri for the decisive penalties was a tactical and psychological move.
Goalkeeper Ingabire was the hero on the night as he saved two penalties by Uganda-born forward Yassin Mugume and Bonfils Caleb Bimenyimana to inspire Mukura to Peace Cup glory.
Centre-back Abdul Rwatubyaye shot his penalty wide while Yannick Mukunzi was the only Rayon Sports player who converted his penalty.
Burundian Gael Duhayindavyi, Kevin Hakizimana and Hassan Rugirayabo all converted their penalties to deny the blues a ticket to the CAF Confederation Cup.
Mukura VS were also the cup winners in 1978, 1986, 1990 and 1992. Mukura previously reached the Peace Cup final on three occasions in ten years – and lost all of them.
They lost 4-2 to APR in penalty shootout (following goalless draw) in 1999; then 3-0 to Rayon Sports in 2005; and 1-0 to now-defunct Atraco FC in 2009.
Besides Mukura who will represent Rwanda in CAF Confederation Cup next season, Azam Rwanda Premier League champions APR will represent the country in the Champions League.