Rayon seek strong start to new season

Rayon Sports head coach Roberto Robertinho Oliveira barks instructions to his players during a past CAF Confederation Cup match at Kigali Stadium. Sam Ngendahimana.


Etincelles     Vs      Rayon

Gicumbi       Vs      Espoir

Mukura        Vs      Sunrise

Kirehe          Vs      Kiyovu


Immediate formerchampions Rayon Sports will be looking for a strong start when they travel to Umuganda Stadium for their league opener against Etincelles on Saturday afternoon in Rubavu District.

Brazilian Roberto Oliveira Goncalves do Carmo will be the Blues head coach for his first full season since joining the eight-time champions in May, replacing Belgian Ivan Minneart who has since joined Libyan side Al-Ittihad.

“We are facing a good team, but we prepared for the challenge. It is always hard to win the opening game of a new season, but we are going to do all we can to make it happen.  In football, you win, draw and lose but our target is to get maximum points,” the Brazilian told Saturday Sport on Friday.

In a separate interview, Etincelles’ newly appointed coach AbdulKalim Coka Nduhirabandi warned that though Rayon Sports will start as favourites, his side won’t shy away from attempting to “defy the odds and dump the giants”.

“We are going into the game with the purpose to win the game in front of our fans, facing the giants won’t intimidate us. The mistake they (Rayon Sports) should not make is to underestimate us,” said the former Kirehe FC and Marines coach.

Meanwhile, Mukura start their campaign on Saturday, hosting Nyagatare-based Sunrise at Huye Stadium as they seek a positive start to the 2018/2019 season. Last season, the black and yellow outfit finished 13th on the 16-team league table – just four points off relegation.

Elsewhere, on Saturday, Gicumbi face Espoir while Kirehe will be up against SC Kiyovu.

Skol awards Rayon Sports’ best

In the meantime, Skol Brewery Ltd has awarded midfielder Kevin Muhire as Rayon Sports’ player of the year for 2017-18 season.

Left-back Eric Rutanga won the defender of the year award, while Burundian striker Caleb Bonfils Bimenyimana was awarded as the player who adapted fastest at Rayon Sports.