DESPITE trailiing five points behind surprise league leaders AS Kigali, APR head coach Eric Nshimiyimana is happy with the progress of his side.
Nshimiyimana applauded his youthful team after they came from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with old enemies Rayon Sport in their rescheduled Primus league match at Amahoro stadium.
"This shows that the boys are hungry to win and they are gaining more confidence which is good for the team ahead of the upcoming local and continental competitions," said the Amavubi assistant coach.
The former Rwandan international added, "As a coach, it is a good sign for me that there's improvement in team coming from two down to draw against a very experienced team like Rayon. I am happy with the mentality of my players," he added.
The army side will open their 2013 Champions League campaign with a double-legged preliminary round clash against Burundi based Vital'O.
Rayon Sport scored 2-0 lead through Faudi Ndayisenga and Jerome Sina in the 49th and 65th minutes, respectively on Sunday.
But APR coming from behind scored twice. Former SC Kiyovu midfielder Iranzi set up Muganza in the 77th minute with a corner, before he hit the equalizer in 79th minute from 25 yards.
"The younger players are gaining more experience with every match we play and I'm sure it will help us in the upcoming competitions, which include the Champions League, Peace Cup, Cecafa Kagame Cup as well as the national league," added the former APR and Kiyovu midfielder.
The draw left APR in sixth spot with 17 points, level with newly promoted Musanze FC but the champions have a better goals difference of 9 compared to Musanze's 6.
Andrew Gasambungo's AS Kigali ended the year at the top of the league with 21 points in ten matches, Police and Kiyovu follow with 19 points, while Etincelles lay bottom of the standings with five points.