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Peace Cup 2019: Cut-throat Fight for Final Slots

by Bonnie Mugabe
12:19 am

AS Kigali look to win their third Peace Cup title and a spot to the CAF Confederation Cup next season.

All eyes will be on the league champions Rayon Sports, AS Kigali, SC Kiyovu and Police FC this weekend as they battle for the final slots which will reveal the eventual champion of the 2019 Peace Cup Competition on July 4.

But to determine who progresses through, the semi-final contest between AS Kigali and Rayon Sports as wel as SC Kiyovu’s tie against Police will battle it one of the best toygh duels expected to highlight this weekend.

AS Kigali, a former winner of the tournament takes on league champions Rayon Sports Fc who are looking for a double to complete their season on a high.

The first leg fixture which is due this afternoon is set to be played at Stade de Kigali at 15h00 before the 2015 winners Police FC play against SC Kiyovu on Wednesday.

This is the second time Rayon and AS Kigali are meeting in the tournament, with the former having won 4-2 on penalties during the group stage. AS Kigali progressed to the last 16 as one of the best six losers.

The Blues progressed to the last four with an emphatic 9-1 win over Camarade Banamwana’s Gicumbi, having won the first-leg 7-1 in Kigali while AS Kigali edged second division side Gasogi United 3-2 on aggregate.

Red-hot Rayon Sports striker Jules Ulimwengu told KT Sports on the eve of today’s game that his side is ready and focused on the semi-final game.

“We take each game as it comes by. We know what to expect against AS Kigali, it will be a tough game but collectively, our aim is to win away before we host them in the return leg. I believe we can overcome them and book a slot in the finals,” he said.

Meanwhile, Rayon Sports assistant coach Wagner do Nascimento Silva has rallied his team, urging them to stay focused as they attempt to win a historic Double this season following their league triumph.

AS Kigali coach Mateso Jean de Dieu believes Rayon Sports poses a big threat in their contest to win the remaining silverware of the season.

“We know Rayon Sports is a difficult to face always. We have trained well with focus being on winning our first leg tie before we see how the return leg goes. We will try to address our weak side while aiming to weaken their strong sides which are mainly upfront and the midfield,” he said.

On Wednesday, Alain Kirasa’s SC Kiyovu who stormed the semi-finals after overcoming Intare 5-2 in the quarter-finals despite the two sides playing out a 2-all draw in the return-leg takes on Police Fc knocked out Etincelles 4-2 on aggregates in the last eight round.

The Mumena-based side – who have not won any major silverware since their 1993 league title success – claim they can win 2019 Peace Cup top prize considering their recent consistent performances.

Kirasa, a former Burundi international, guided the Green Baggies to a fifth spot finish in the recently concluded 2018/2019 Azam Rwanda Premier League despite financial hardships that saw former coach Andre Casa Mbungo departing the club last October.

“We have had some good performances of recent and we need to bank on them to eliminate Police Fc and book a slot in the final. It will be a difficult game just like many we have played this season but we know them much as they do know us. So if we avoid mistakes and stick to our playing attitude, I believe we can beat Police,” he said.

On facing SC Kiyovu, Police coach Maurice Nshimiyimana said, “SC Kiyovu is one of the good teams that will be hard to break through. But we are confident ahead of this tie, I have prepared well my team and players are in good and positive mood to seal a final slot. Let’s see how the first leg goes before we welcome them in the return leg,”

The winners of the two-legged fixtures will meet in the final on July 4.

Winners of the Peace Cup will represent Rwanda in the CAF Confederation Cup next season. However, if Rayon wins it, the losing finalist will take up the CAF Confederation Cup spot.

Peace Cup 2019 Competition

First Leg Fixtures

June 26, 2019

AS Kigali vs Rayon Sports FC (Stade de Kigali, 15h00)

June 27, 2019

SC Kiyovu vs Police FC (Stade de Kigali, 15h00)

Return Leg Fixtures

June 29, 2019

Rayon Sports FC vs AS Kigali (Stade de Kigali, 15h00)

June 30, 2019

Police FC vs SC Kiyovu (Stade de Kigali, 15h00)