Azam Rwanda Premier League clubs, APR FC and Mukura VS all begin their CAF excursions today afternoon with the military side playing from home while Huye-based side will be away to South Africa.
Defending Azam Rwanda Premier League champions APR FC start their quest for a first ever CAF Champions League crown with a home tie against Tunisian side Club Africain in the first leg of the preliminary round in the Total CAF champion’s league which will be staged at Kigali Stadium. Kick-off is at 15:30 (Rwanda time).
Peace Cup winners Mukura VS takes on South Africa’s Free State Stars at Bidvest Stadium, in Johannesburg, this afternoon in the preliminary round of the 2018/2019 CAF Confederation Cup. Kick-Off is at 15h00 (Rwandan time).
Total CAF Champions League
APR Fc without key forward player Ernest Sugira and Byiringiro Lague who are all injured goes into this afternoon’s tie hoping to cement their perfect start to the season which have seen them win five of their league matches.
Both sides will be meeting for a second time in the continental show piece. In 2011, APR lost 6-2 to Club Africain in the preliminary round of the same competition.
The two sides played a 2-all draw in Kigali before the military side suffered a humiliating 0-4 defeat in return-leg in Tunisia.
Assistant coach Bizimana Didier said on Tuesday, ‘We are well prepared and we know what is at stake. We know very well how Club Africain plays and on top of that we know what is at stake in this new Champions league campaign,’
‘It will not be an easy game, but we are ready to do whatever it takes to eliminate Club Africain and qualify to the next round,’ Bizimana said.
The military side’s best campaign in the Champions League was in the 2004 season when they reached the third round under the stewardship of late Jean Marie Ntagwabira.
Since then, the country’s most successful club has faltered in the continent’s elite competition though the club’s coach Jimmy Mulisa is confident the team can negotiate its home game to Tunisian biggest club in their own chance of second leg in Tunis due December 5 at Stade Olympique de Radès.
For APR FC to replicate performances of their arch rivals Rayon Sports who reached the quarter final round of this year’s CAF Confederations Cup, they need to be clinical in all their encounters or else it will be same old history.
The military side heads to Tunisia this weekend for the return leg slated for next week. Club Africain – thirteen-time Tunisian champions – will host APR FC in the return-leg clash at the 60,000-seater Stade Olympique de Radès on December 5.
Total Confederations Cup
Mukura VS will be making their return to continental arena for the first time since 2001 and will be marking their return to Caf Confederation since 2000.
The Huye-based side arrived in South Africa on Monday, held their training session at Bidvest Stadium on Tuesday in readiness for today’s tie.
Head coach Burundian Christian Haringingo thinks the Free State Stars are not invincible and has challenged his side to cause an upset this afternoon.
“It will be tough but the objective is to try and get three points against Free State Stars. We will go into the game looking for nothing less than a win. I believe we can achieve our target and return home with better results which will help us in return leg,”
“Looking to the team, players are in good shape individually and collectively, the target is to get positive results in the away first-leg match before we host Free State in the return-leg. It is big challenge for us but we are ready to do our work,” Haringingo told Cafonline.
Haringingo added that no injuries as all players are on good sharp to finish their mission. Mukura left the country on Sunday ahead of their first leg game.
After today’s game, Mukura VS will return in the country on Thursday and immediately embark on preparations for the decisive return-leg clash – scheduled for December 5.