Alain Kirasa, the interim Rayon Sports head coach, has emphasized that his side have what it takes to bounce back against Gasogi United following their humiliating loss to APR a fortnight ago.
The two teams face-off Sunday afternoon at Kigali Stadium, starting at 3pm.
Just before the festive break, Rayon lost 2-0 to ten-man APR, which allowed the latter to open up a five-point lead at the top of the 2019/2020 Rwanda Premier League table.
However, second-placed Police and third-placed Rayon have a chance to narrow the gap should they win their matches – against Sunrise and Gasogi, respectively – on Sunday.
At 32 points before their away crunch at Nyagatare Stadium, victory will see Police move to three points within of leaders APR who have 38 points.
Record 17-time champions APR could have extended their advantage on Saturday but they were held by AS Kigali to a barren stalemate, making if the fifth draw for the unbeaten army side after 16 match rounds this season.
Kirasa will be taking charge of his first competitive match at Rayon, and he has urged his players that, “We can’t afford a second consecutive upset. We should battle with all we got to win.”
The Burundian tactician was promoted as interim coach last month after the club fired former head coach Javier Martinez Espinosa, allegedly for the team’s disappointing performance against bitter rivals APR in the two local giants’ first league derby this term.
“Ups and downs are part of our lives in football, but, we have to overcome them. I believe a quick response is what we need to steer us back on the right track, we want to start the New Year with victory.”
Having lost twice and recorded four draws after 15 matches, Rayon are third on the 16-team table with 31 points, 12 ahead of their opponents Gasogi who are in 10th position.
In a separate interview with Sunday Sport, Gasogi head coach Guy Bukasa confessed that Rayon have the odds on their side, and his youthful side were not intimidated and looked forward to a ‘tough battle’ for the three points.
“We need the three points very badly, and the players are fit for the challenge. It is going to be a tough match, but we are ready. I am hopeful it will be our day to shine.”
Striker Ernest Sugira is expected to make his first appearance with the Blues following his six-month loan move from APR this week.
Elsewhere on Sunday, strugglers Gicumbi take on Marines at Mumena Stadium, while Musanze host AS Muhanga at Ubworoherane Stadium.
All the matches get underway at 3pm.Follow https://twitter.com/pkamasa