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Rwanda champions APR have to be on top of their game when they line up against Tunisian giants Club Africain this afternoon in the preliminarily round of Total Champions League second-leg clash at the Stade Olympique 07 Novemre Rades in the north African nation.
On paper, Club Africain are the favourites to go through after the two sides played out a goalless draw in Kigali last week.
In build-up to today’s match, APR coach Jimmy Mulisa alluded to the fact that the team has the quality to rise to the occasion.
“No one is expecting us to beat Club Africain away but we can do so and we are telling the boys that we can win the game. We know the task at hand,” the former Rwanda international and APR forward added.
Despite dominating domestic football over the years, winning 18 titles in the last 18 seasons, APR do not command respect on the continent.
The club’s best performance came back in 2004 when they reached the third round of Champions League under the late Jean Marie Ntagwabira.
Since then, the country’s most successful club have faltered on the continent.
Team captain Jean Baptiste Mugiraneza believes that his teammates have the ability to reach the next round.
Mugiraneza explained that, “We have hope that we can overturn the result. When I look back at the first leg, even as we drew we created several goal-scoring chances but we were unlucky.”
APR will be looking to avoid the humiliation of 6-2 to Club Africain in the preliminary round of the same competition in 2011, when the two sides first drew 2-2 draw in Kigali before APR suffered a humiliating 4-0 defeat in return-leg in Tunisia.
Mugiraneza further explained that, “honestly you cannot say that Club Africain worked harder than us in Kigali. Of course, games are never the same but we are prepared to do everything posible to win the second leg and qualify for the next round.”
The game will be officiated by Hicham Tiazi, assisted by Lahcen Azgaou and Yahya Nouali.