Kirehe Vs Rayon: Blues could be crowned champions today

Roberto Oliveira gives instructions to his Rayon Sports players during a past league match against APR at Amahoro Stadium. / Sam Ngendahimana

Kirehe vs Rayon 15:30
Gicumbi vs Muhanga 15:30
Etincelles vs Mukura 15:30
AS Kigali vs Police 15:30

Roberto Oliveira has urged his Rayon Sports players to “play as if your lives depend on the game” when they travel to Nyakarambi grounds to face relegation-threatened Kirehe on Friday.

The game gets underway at 3:30pm.

Victory will seal the Blues their 2018-19 league title, and a spot in the 2019/2020 CAF Champions League, with a game to spare.

Roberto Oliviera’s side edged closer to the Azam Rwanda Premier League title last Friday after coming from behind to beat Musanze 3-1 at Kigali Stadium. Thanks to goals from Thierry Manzi, Michael Sarpong and Djabel Manishimwe.

Rayon, with 66 points, lead APR by four points with two match rounds left.

Second-placed – and reigning champions – APR had a chance to narrow their four-point lead back to one point the following day, but a battling ten-man AS Muhanga stunned the army side 2-1 to propel Rayon to their ninth league crown.

“It will be a difficult tie against a team fighting not to be relegated. We are going to approach the game as if our lives depend on it,” said Brazilian tactician Roberto.

But should Kirehe bring to an end Rayon’s seven-game winning streak and APR beat Espoir on Saturday, the title race will go right to the wire on June 1 when the champions will be up against Police, while Rayon will be taking on Marines.

Hamisi Sogonya’s Kirehe host the overwhelming favourites well knowing that any result other than victory, and a win for Gicumbi who host AS Muhanga, would see them drop back in the relegation zone with one match round left.

Sogonya admits that; “The odds are against us, since we are facing such strong opponents, but we are ready to do everything possible to earn all three points.”

“Beating Rayon is the only guarantee [for us] to survive the relegation.”

Kirehe lie 14th with 27 points on the 16-team table; a tally they share with second-last Gicumbi, but they rank ahead courtesy of a lesser goal deficit.

In other matches on Friday, Etincelles face third-placed Mukura at Umuganda Stadium, while AS Kigali and Police tussle it out at Kigali Stadium.

Rayon are unbeaten in their last 16 games.