CAF Conf Cup quarter-finals
First leg: September 16
Rayon Vs Enyimba
CARA Vs Raja Club Athletic
El Masry Vs USM Alger
AS Vita Vs RS Berkane
RAYON Sports will attempt to reach their first semi-final in a continental competition when they take on Nigeria’s Enyimba in a two-legged tie of the CAF Confederation Cup this month.
Arguably the underdogs of the round of last eight, Rayon will host the two-time African champions on September 16 before playing away to Enyimba in Nigeria on September 23.
The eight-time Rwandan champions were pitted against the Nigerian giants during Monday’s draws held at the Confederation of African Football (CAF) headquarters in Cairo, Egypt.
When the ‘Blues’ host Enyimba at Kigali Stadium come September 16, it will be the first time that the two sides meet in any competition.
Speaking to Times Sport on Tuesday, Rayon Sports secretary general Bernard ‘King’ Itangishaka said they have respect – but have ‘no fear’ – for their quarter-final opponents, emphasising that they will be ready to face Enyimba with confidence for a spot in the last four.
“African football is almost the same everywhere, only experience and preparedness make the difference in most cases. The valuable experience we have gained from CAF competitions this year will help us to prepare well for the two encounters against Enyimba,” Itangishaka said.
The club’s secretary general, who also revealed that Brazilian head coach Roberto Goncalves is away on leave, insisted that Rayon Sports is a group of ‘great men’ who have proved themselves against some of Africa’s best this year and seeing off Enyimba is possible.
While Rayon Sports cruised to quarter-finals of the continent’s second biggest club competition as first runners-up from Group D with 9 points, their opponents Enyimba progressed to the last eight as Group A leaders with 12 points.
In their group campaign, Rayon defied the odds last Wednesday as they beat Tanzania’s Young Africans 1-0 in Kigali to advance to the quarter-finals at the expense of two regional giants; Kenya’s Gor Mahia who finished third with 8 points and Young Africans (4 points) at the bottom.
They progressed along with Algerian side USM Alger who topped the group with 11 points.
Besides the Rayon Sports Vs Enyimba quarter-final tie, USM Alger have been drawn against Egyptian side Al-Masry, Raja Casablanca of Morocco will be up against CARA Brazzaville of the Republic of Congo, while DR Congo’s AS Vita Club and Morocco’s RSB Berkane will square-off in the other quarter-final.
Raja Casablanca, also known as Raja Club Athletic, advanced to the quarter-finals as Group A leaders with 11 points, ahead of first runners-up AS Vita Club. RSB Berkane and Al-Masry survived from Group B as leaders and first runners-up with 13 and 12 points, respectively.
The draw raised the possibility of an all-Moroccan title decider between Raja and RSB Berkane.
The first-leg of the final shutdown will be played on November 25 followed by the title-determining clash (second-leg) on December 2.