No love lost as Rayon, AS Kigali face off in Agaciro tournament

Rayon Sports midifielder Yannick Mukunzi (#6) argues with an AS Kigali player during the two sides’ clash in last year’s Agaciro edition, which ended 1-0 in favour of AS Kigali at Amahoro National Stadium. (Sam Ngendahimana)


APR           vs    Etincelles    15:30


AS Kigali   vs    Rayon         18:00


It will be a clash of egos as holders Rayon Sports and AS Kigali face off tonight in their first fixture of this year’s Agaciro Development Fund tournament at Amahoro National Stadium.


Despite Rayon Sports winning the title courtesy of head-to-head advantage over APR last year, AS Kigali were the only team to beat the Blues in the second edition of the annual tournament.

Eric Nshimiyimana’s side will be looking to replicate that form today for a berth to the final showdown, which will be played on Sunday at Kigali Stadium.

On the other hand, Rayon are well aware that Agaciro tournament is their last chance to win a silverware this year after failing to retain the league title, losing the Peace Cup final, and exiting the Caf Confederation Cup in quarter-finals last Sunday.

The much-awaited clash between Rayon Sports and AS Kigali will be preceded by another encounter pitting league champions APR and Etincelles, who finished in fourth position.

Speaking to Times Sport on Thursday, coach Nshimiyimana said that, “AS Kigali always take the tie against Rayon with seriousness, they are strong opponents. Nonetheless, this is a knock-out tournament, and we will be going all out to win it. The target is to win the tournament.”

Winners in Friday’s matches will meet in the final on Sunday while the losers will battle for third spot, also on Sunday afternoon. Both games will be hosted at Kigali Stadium.

In an interview, Rayon Sports’ coach Roberto Oliveira urged his players to face the City of Kigali-sponsored side with a ‘killer’s instinct’ as they seek to bounce back from their 5-1 humiliation at the hands of Nigeria’s Enyimba FC in continental football.

The Brazilian said, “It’s going to be a tough match, on both sides, but we want to win this game – and to retain the title, which would be a massive boost of our confidence and morale ahead of next season. I have spoken with my players, they have to face AS Kigali with a killer’s instinct.”

The Agaciro Development Fund football championship is staged annually to raise funds towards Rwanda’s sovereign wealth fund.

The tournament, which is in its third year, has generated Rwf.88m since its inception in 2015.

Police claimed the inaugural edition of the tournament, in 2015, while Rayon lifted last year’s title after edging APR 1-0 in the final.

The tournament was not held in 2016.


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