Roberto salutes Rayon players for ‘incredible’ league campaign

Rayon Sports players applaud their fans after clinching the Rwanda Premier League title with a 4-0 mauling of hosts Kirehe yesterday. / Courtesy

ROBERTO Oliveira has paid tribute to his Rayon Sports players after they humbled Kirehe 4-0 to clinch the 2018-19 Azam Rwanda Premier League title with a game to spare.

It is the club’s first league title since 2017, and the third in the last six years.

Golden boot favourite Jules Ulimwengu and Ghana-born striker Michael Sarpong scored twice each to sink relegation-threatened Kirehe at Nyakarambi grounds.

The Blues will be crowned as league champions on June 1 when they host Marines in their final match at Kigali Stadium.

“I am very happy to win my first major title with Rayon. This is historic,” Roberto told Sunday Sport on Saturday.

“Despite having had a shaky start, the whole team has been excellent the entire season. We have had an incredible league campaign, especially its second-half.”

The Brazilian acknowledged that much as he might be credited for winning the title, Rayon’s success was built around team effort where everyone connected to the club, from players and coaching staff to management and the fans.

“It still feels like a dream, what a season!” he exclaimed. “I can only say ‘thank you’ to my players; they showed the highest level of never-die spirit, maturity and consistency.”

APR slump further

In the meantime, last season’s champions APR slumped further on Saturday with a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Espoir, just one week after losing to ten-man AS Muhanga in an identical defeat.

Muhadjiri Hakizimana broke the deadlock in the 62nd minute to put APR ahead at Kigali Stadium, but the lead was cancelled by Fred Kyambadde ten minutes later before Sadi Nkundimana’s stoppage time thunderbolt sealed the rare victory for the visitors.

The army side, who have to win the 2019 Peace Cup if they are to play continental football next season, have only won twice in their last eight games.

With one match round left, second-placed APR trail champions Rayon by seven points.