RAYON Sports will face Tanzania’s Young Africans without two of their key players, Thierry Manzi and Olivier Niyonzima in the two sides’ last Group D encounter on August 29 in Kigali.
The two players accumulated two yellow cards in the last two games, which is punished by a one-game suspension in CAF competitions. Both were booked during Sunday’s 2-1 stunning win over Kenyan champions Gor Mahia in Nairobi.
Manzi and Niyonzimana join a long list of Rayon Sports players who are not eligible for the crucial tie against regional powerhouse Young Africans on Wednesday next week.
“The absence of Thierry (Manzi) and Olivier (Niyonzima) is a very huge blow, we would be in a better position to take command of the game if they played. Nonetheless, we are preparing accordingly and should be able to fill the gap,” Rayon Sports coach Roberto Oliveira told Times Sport Thursday after the team’s morning training session at Nzove grounds.
The other ineligible players for Young Africans clash include; goalie Kassim Ndayisenga, midfielder Yannick Mukunzi and striker Christi Mbondi who were slapped a three-game ban by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) for stimulating a fight during the game against USM Alger earlier this month in Algiers.
Barring a draw between USM Alger and Gor Mahia on August 29 in the Algerian capital, victory for Rayon Sports will guarantee the Blues a spot in the quarter-finals of Africa’s second biggest club tournament, which would be a first for any Rwandan side.
In the wake of Manzi and Niyonzima’s suspension, Roberto is likely to assign the captaincy to Abdul Rwatubyaye and partner him with Ange Mutsinzi at the heart of defence while Francois Mugisha and new signing McCarthy Okpara Ugochukwu could also play a part.
After five match rounds, Rayon Sports are third with 6 points, two adrift of USM Alger and Gor Mahia who jointly top the table, with 8 points each.
Young Africans are at the bottom of the group with four points.