THIRTEEN-TIME league champions APR is looking forward to a much better performance when they face arch rivals Rayon Sports in the eighth round of the Turbo King Football league match due on Saturday at Amahoro stadium.
APR assistant coach Vincent Mashami said that the club is fully working harder in bid to garner maximum points against their rivals and be able to overtake on the league standings.
“It is going to be a tough game keeping in mind that APR lost their last encounter against Rayon Sports last season. However, this is a new league and we can’t continue to think about what happened the previous season but work hard to ensure that we leave a positive mark,”
“Preparations are going on well and players are in a positive mood. We need to fully concentrate on the upcoming match, avoid mistakes and work as a unit to ensure that we accomplish our mission which is bagging maximum points against Rayon Sports,” added Mashami.
Mashami who took over as the club’s assistant coach last month expressed satisfaction on his side’s performance, adding that he harbours hopes of witnessing impressive displays from the team with a view to finishing the league on a high.
Since 1995, a new rivalry emerged between Rayon Sports and APR, with the later going on to win a record 13 league titles compared to seven for the former during that period.
After years of dominance, APR suffered one of their heaviest defeats in recent years as they succumbed to a 4-0 loss in March this year, a feat which started APR’s era of finishing the season trophyless.
With suspension and injuries depriving APR of three key players; Jean Claude Iranzi, Michel Rusheshangoga and Emery Bayisenge, Rayon gave some football tips to their sworn number one enemy in-front of a full house.
Papy Kamanzi grabbed a brace, while skipper Aphrodis Hategikimana and Cedric Amissi netted the other two goals in a game that attracted 25,000 full capacity crowd.
Former coach Eric Nshimiyimana and his players never managed to recover from that setback and paid the ultimate price, suffering their heaviest defeat in the league history.
In 2002, Rayon beat APR 4-1 at Amahoro, but they have since struggled to beat their rivals in the last six years or so.
Nshimiyimana was sacked following the loss and replaced with Romanian-German born Andreas Spiers who never managed to win any trophy for the military side despite being in contention for Peace Cup and Cecafa Kagame cup titles at the time.
With Pride being a top priority on Saturday, APR who currently sit third on the league standings with 14 points, two points behind arch rivals Rayon Sports and four behind leaders AS Kigali.
Besides from their usual rotation of players, APR has a fully-fit squad and a win in Saturday’s match will depend on the technical staff’s choice of players who will feature against rayon Sports as APR seek to win silverware this season.
In seven matches played, APR has won four matches, drawn two and lost one and they have scored 12 goals and conceded five respectively.
Good results of the match might go either way as history suggests that peaking in football level cannot always matches with outcome in such matches.
It does not matter which of the two teams has superb football prowess on the pitch as the match would remain open to all.
Going by the nature of the match, complacency should not be taken as a reason behind should the former champions lose the game.
The pressure and tension will mount APR who urgently need to inflict defeat to Rayon Sports as part of intention to relieve themselves from last season’s four-goal comprehensive demolition handed to them by their closest rivals.
In a related development, all the league fixtures that were slated for November 10 will be played a day earlier to pave way for the next set of matches that have been affected by the upcoming Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup which commences on November 27-December 12.
These three matches include AS Kigali against Esperance at the Regional stadium in Nyamirambo, Kiyovu versus Muhanga at the Mumena stadium as well as Gicumbi against Etincelles in Gicumbi which were to be played this Sunday but will be honoured on Saturday.
This also affects the set of games that were scheduled for November 23-24 and will be played on November 12. The affected fixtures include; AS Kigali versus Mukura at the Regional stadium in Nyamirambo, Musanze against APR in Musanze and Kiyovu hosting Police at the Mumena stadium. Amagaju will take on Gicumbi at the Nyamagabe stadium while Espoir will be up against Esperance in Rusizi.
These games were to be played on November 23. Etincelles hosting Rayon Sport at the Umuganda stadium and Muhanga taking on Marines at the stadium in Muhanga were to be played on November 24 but instead will be played twelve days earlier.
APR GUNNING FOR RAYON CLASH