Ulimwengu calls for focus as title race enters ‘make-or-break’ stage

Jules Ulimwengu (L) and Michael Sarpong celebrate after they each scored two goals to inspire Rayon Sports to a comfortable 4-0 victory over Espoir FC at Kigali Stadium on Thursday. / Julius Ntare

Sunday
Police vs Rayon 15:30
Espoir vs Bugesera 15:30
Mukura vs Musanze 15:30
Etincelles vs Kirehe 15:30
Sunrise vs Amagaju 15:30

The Azam Rwanda Premier League’s golden boot favourite, Jules Ulimwengu, has appealed to his Rayon Sports teammates to remain focused as the season enters crucial phase.

Rayon take on archrivals Police Sunday afternoon, with their sight focused on the top spot following APR’s 2-all draw with AS Kigali at Kigali Stadium on Friday.

Ulimwengu, 19, scored two goals to inspire his side to a resounding 4-0 win over Espoir on Thursday, and leads the top-scorers’ chart with 16 goals; two ahead of APR forward Muhadjiri Hakizimana, and three better than Rayon teammate Michael Sarpong.

Speaking to Sunday Sport on Friday, Ulimwengu said: “We are in good form at the moment, we (players) are in fantastic shape and spirits are high in the dressing room. It is exactly the kind of environment we need to sustain till end of the season.”

“I am happy that I’m helping my team with goals, I want to keep scoring and ensuring that we collect maximum points from our remaining fixtures. We cannot afford any mistake.”

Head coach Roberto Oliveira was also full of praise for the young Burundian striker, who joined the ‘Blues’ from league rivals Sunrise in January for Rwf8 million.

“I know his ability to score; he is the best striker in the league right now and he has the potential to get better. He has proved himself and what he is capable of, game after game,” a visibly delighted Oliveira told this publication in a separate interview.

Rayon, eight-time champions, will have a big task to overcome when they face Police today at Amahoro Stadium, starting at 3:30pm. The two sides are off impressive run of results; with Rayon having won their last three games, while Police go into Sunday’s clash on the back of two consecutive wins.

“The player (Ulimwengu) is an exceptional talent. We will be counting on him and his striking partner, Sarpong, for goals against Police,” Brazilian tactician Oliveira added.

The law enforcers, winners of the 2015 Peace Cup, stunned Mukura 2-1 at Huye Stadium last Sunday, before humiliating Sunrise 4-0 on Wednesday.

Police interim coach Maurice ‘Maso’ Nshimiyimana has tipped his men to ‘get the job done’. “We will give our best to get the three points. The players are confident and fit to get it done, despite the odds leaning on our opponents’ (Rayon) side.”

Also on Sunday, in other fixtures of match-day 26, Espoir host Bugesera at Kamarampaka Stadium, Musanze travel to Huye Stadium for a clash against Mukura, Etincelles delight Kirehe at Umuganda Stadium, while Amagaju will be up against Sunrise at Nyagatare turf.

APR lead the standings with 59 points, followed by Rayon at 57, Mukura are third with 49, whist Police (43) complete top four. Amagaju are bottom of the 16-team table with, only, 16 points.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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