Why coach Nshimiyimana is living on borrowed time at AS Kigali

AS Kigali Head coach Eric Nshimiyimana. Sam Ngendahimana.

It is quite obvious that a good number of coaches in Azam Rwanda Premier League are currently skiing on thin ice, with their days as head coaches for their respective clubs numbered.

AS Kigali Coach Eric Nshimiyimana is at the top of this unfortunate list; pundits believe his seat is not safe at the moment.

Even though the former APR FC and Amavubi coach led AS Kigali to the second position at the just-concluded season, the fact that he did not reach his target of winning either the league cup or Peace Cup – despite spending big in the transfer market – complicates his situation.

Bottom-line is, his employers will need convincing answers for a continued trophy drought. AS Kigali have not won any major title since the 2013 Peace Cup.

This year was the time the club came closest to winning the league title, only to squander that chance in the last five games in pathetic fashion.

Had AS Kigali won the highly coveted football prize in the country, they would be guaranteed to represent Rwanda in CAF Champions League next season.

AS Kigali finished second with 61 points – six adrift of champions APR – having registered 18 wins, seven draws and six defeats.

In Peace Cup, the country’s second biggest football tournament, As Kigali were sent packing by Mukura VS in the round of last sixteen.

Twice they topped the league table in the last ten league rounds, but football pundits familiar with local league were quite certain that AS Kigali did not have what it took win the trophy.

Charles Kakooza Nkuriza, a.k.a KNC, who owns TV and Radio One said, “AS Kigali cannot win the 2017/18 football league title, vowing to strip naked and walk to his home in Gasogi if the City of Kigali sponsored side win their first league title.”

With four games to go, Nshimiyimana’s AS Kigali chances for a historic first league title got even thinner with a 1-all draw against Musanze and a 1-0 upset at the hands of Kirehe FC.

It is not just results that put pressure on Nshimiyimana, but also AS Kigali’s transfer business that is yet to pay dividends.

The club spent more money than any other local side on signing new players prior to the start of the 2017/2018 season. Some of the household names such as Ugandan Frank Kalanda, former Rayon Sports forward Dominique Savio Nshuti, Burundian striker Jean Claude Ndarusanze, central defender Omar Ngandu, striker Emmanuel Ngama and midfielder Kevin Ishimwe were all signed - all on two-year contract.

Nshuti, who is reported to have pocketed Rwf16million, was a flop, the Rwanda international was signed with an injury and spent close to seven months in the sickbay, only to hand in a release request after playing one competitive match for the club.

He played the only game during the 1-all draw with Rayon Sports.

AS Kigali may have shown some improvement but results need to translate into winning titles, which Nshimiyimana has not been able to achieve since joining the club in 2014.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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