Rayon Sports jet off to Nigeria full of confidence

Enyimba FC forward Sunday Damilare (#4) tries to go past Rayon Sports’ defender Gabriel Mugabo and his teammates during the first leg match at Kigali Stadium on Sunday. Sam Ngendahimana.


Quarter-finals (return-leg)


Enyimba     Vs    Rayon       (0-0)


Raja             Vs    CARA       (2-1)


Berkane      Vs    AS Vita     (3-1)

USM Alger  Vs    Al Masry   (0-1)

RAYON Sports, East Africa’s only football club still in continental competitions this year, are keen on edging out Nigerian giants Enyimba to qualify for the semifinals of CAF Confederation Cup.

Enyimba host the Blues in the return-leg of their quarter-final tie, in Caf Confederation Cup, at Enyimba International Stadium on Sunday.

Coach Roberto Oliveira Goncalves will miss the services of star playmaker Yannick Mukunzi, who is in Europe for trials with Swedish second division side Sundvikens IF.

In the absence of Mukunzi, the Brazilian tactician is likely to use Olivier ‘Sefu’ Niyonzima in his position.

Rayon Sports have however been boosted by the return of skipper Thierry Manzi, who missed the club’s last two Caf Confederation Cup matches.

He will partner with Abdul Rwatubyaye at the heart of defence.

Rayon Sports’ 40-member delegation left the country on Thursday, at 9am, aboard a RwandAir flight with optimism.

The team’s delegation to Nigeria includes; 19 players, the technical staff, members of the club’s executive committee, four journalists, and a select few fans.

Speaking to Times Sport on Thursday, Goncalves said he believed in his players and their ability to shine when it matters the most.

“Despite failing to win the first-leg in Kigali, I believe in my players and their ability to get positive results away from home. While preparing for the return-leg, we mainly focused on the attack. We need to score early and kill Enyimba’s game plan,” he said.

The two-time African champions, Enyimba, and first time quarter-finalists Rayon Sports played out a goalless in the first-leg at Kigali Stadium last Sunday.

He added, “The absence of Yannick is a huge blow, but we are not worried. The morale in the team is high, and every player is fired up and looking to accomplish the mission.”

While the match is a must-win for the hosts to progress to the next round, a score draw will be enough to see Rayon Sports through to the semi-finals of Africa’s second-tier club competition.

The winner over the two legs will face either Congo-Brazzaville’s Club Athlétique Renaissance Aiglon (CARA) or Raja Casablanca of Morocco in the last four next month.

Full squad:

Djabel Manishimwe, Thierry Manzi, Gabriel Mugabo, Francois Mugisha, Saddam Nyandwi, Nova Bayama, Yassin Mugume, Abouba Bashunga, Abdul Rwatubyaye, Eric Irambona, Gilbert Mugisha, Eric Rutanga, Kevin Muhire, Bonfils Caleb Bimenyimana, Olivier Niyonzima, Ange Mutsinzi, Prosper Kuka Donkor, Christ Mbondi, and Kassim Ndayisenga.



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