Sugira eager to shine again after 16-month injury layoff

Ernest Sugira (#16) vies for the ball with Mukura defenders during APR’s 1-0 defeat at the hands of Francis Haringingo’s side at Kigali Stadium last Thursday. Sam Ngendahimana.


Espoir Vs APR 15:30

Following his recent return from a 16-month injury lay-off, APR striker Ernest Sugira will be keen to shine on Friday when the champions travel to Rusizi Stadium for an Azam Rwanda Premier League clash against Espoir.

The 27-year old made his first appearance, as a second-half substitute, last Thursday – during the 1-0 loss to Mukura – since rejoining APR from DR Congo’s AS Vita Club in August 2017.

Over the weekend, it took the former AS Kigali striker only 28 minutes to score his first goal as APR beat AS Muhanga 2-1 at Kigali Stadium.

Despite not being 100% fit yet, Sugira gave a good count of himself against the 2013 Peace Cup finalists, a club where he started his football career as a youth before signing for APR, in 2013, during his first stint with the black-and-white outfit.

Sugira suffered a serious left knee injury in October 2017 during a training session with Amavubi where Amavubi prepared for a clash against Uganda Cranes in qualifiers of the 2018 CHAN finals tournament, which was staged in Morocco.

Speaking to Times Sport in an exclusive interview on Wednesday, the former AS Kigali goal machine seemed, and sounded, hopeful and optimistic to return to his peak form as he eyes to be a regular in the military side’s starting eleven.

“I have been on the sidelines for a long time, I honestly don’t feel fully fit yet. But, the technical staff and teammates have been supportive throughout my injury and when I started training, which made it easier for me to adapt,” said Sugira.

“I want to use every chance I get to contribute to the success of the team, and I think I can now manage to play the entire 90 minutes of a match.”

Sugira is likely to start upfront against Espoir on Friday as Jimmy Mulisa’s side seek to extend their lead after Mukura’s fixture against Etincelles has been postponed due to their CAF Confederation Cup clash against Sudanese side Al Hilal in Khartoum on Sunday.

APR top the table standings with 29 points from 12 games, three points ahead of second-placed Mukura who have played two games less.

Sugira made his debut appearance for Amavubi in September 2013 against Benin, before scoring his first international goal, against Mozambique, in 2015.

He has 19 caps for Amavubi, and has scored eight times, including three at the 2016 African Nations Championships in Rwanda where he inspired the hosts to quarter-finals of the continent’s second biggest football tournament.