Rayon Sports step up search for new coach

Javier Martinez Espinosa was fired on Tuesday following Rayon Sports' 2-0 defeat to bitter rivals APR last Saturday. Courtesy.

RAYON Sports have started the search for a new head coach following the departure of Javier Martinez Espinosa earlier this week.

The Mexican was axed on Tuesday – after just three months in charge – allegedly for his now former team’s disappointing 2-0 defeat to archrivals APR last Saturday.

According to reports, the Blues have held talks with as many as five candidates to replace Martinez ahead of the Rwanda Premier League’s second-half that kicks-off on January 4.

Although the club has declined to give details of the five candidates, Saturday Sport understands that André Casa Mbungo has now emerged as the odds-on favourite for the job.

Mbungo, 51, was relieved of his position as head coach at Kenyan giants AFC Leopards in October. He previously won the Peace Cup title with AS Kigali (2013) and two years later with Police.

Other prominent names on the applicants’ list include former coach Didier Gomes da Rosa and Sunrise coach Moses Basena.

Frenchman Gomes, 49, guided Rayon to the 2012/2013 league title to end their nine-year jinx.

In an interview with this publication on Friday, Nkurunziza confirmed that “the club is in talks with five coaches, but there is nothing concrete so far. We will announce our next head coach soon as he is decided.”

After two losses and four draws, Martinez left Rayon in third position with 31 points from 15 matches this season. They trail second-placed Police by one point, and are six behind leaders APR who are pursuing a record-extending 18th league title.

With the dismissal of Martinez, now eight – half the number – of head coaches who started the 2019/2020 topflight league season have either been sacked or resigned.

“The fans must be patient as we look for the right man for the job. We are doing everything possible to get a suitable coach before the league’s second round starts.”

pkamasa@newtimesrwanda.com

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