APR face a daunting challenge if they are to advance to the first round of the Caf Champions League after this month's disappointing 1-2 home loss against Vital'O of Burundi at Amahoro stadium.
Despite playing away from home, Vital'O, coached by former Rayon Sport coach Gilbert 'Yaounde' Kanyankole, were a class above their opponents and were never really in trouble.
In truth, it was a result that could have been a lot worse for Eric Nshimiyimana's beleaguered side, as it was clear that the team lacks the much-need experience at this level following the exodus of all their experienced foreign players in the transfer window.
Vital'O came into this tie in sublime domestic form, leading the chasing pack by a whopping six points. In contrast, APR found themselves in third place on the Primus League table; three points outside of the Champions League qualification place.
The Burundi champions were in control from the start and raced into the lead on the 27th minute when defender Leopold Nkurikiye dribbled past a flat-footed Michel Rusheshangoga before beating a surging Jean Luc Ndayishimiye in the APR goal.
Amis Tambwe then doubled the lead 19 minutes into the second half after a defensive error leaving the hosts with a whole lot to do.
Four minutes later, Maxime Sekamana, who had come on for the ineffective Rusheshangoga, pulled one back for APR after converting a Jean Claude Iranzi cross but that was about it for the army side.
Nshimiyimana's side was outplayed for large periods during the game and will need to be onto of their game to salvage the two-goal result they need in Bujumbura to stay in the competition.
Having played in the competition during his hey days with APR, Nshimiyimana knows what a tricky position his team find themselves in.
"I have said it before and I will say it again, in such Cup competitions, it's important to win your home games. Unfortunately, we failed to do that in the first leg but that is behind us now," he noted.
"I believe in this team and I know that we are still capable of overturning this result. That's what we need to aim for and see where it takes us."
A significant factor ahead of this week's second leg tie is the fact that APR will have to execute a comeback of epic proportions at the Prince Louis Rwagasore Stadium and not at the famed Amahoro Stadium. The Prince Louis Rwagasore Stadium seats 22,000 spectators, which pales in comparison to Amahoro which has a capacity of over 30,000 but Burundians, are known for supporting their home teams which should further fuel the desire and ambition of Vital'O ahead of this highly anticipated fixture.
Despite Vital'O's slight advantage, Kanyankole has asked his players to guard against complacence. "The job is only half done. We need to win or atleast secure a draw in the return leg to qualify to the first round," he warned.
Founded as Rwanda Sport FC in the 1960s, Vital'O has struggled to make a mark on the continent despite dominating the Burundi Premier League.
The club has a whooping 18 league titles; nine more than their closest challengers Inter FC.
And yet their best performance in the coveted Caf Champions League is a second round appearance in 1999 and 2000.
APR'S PERFORMANCE IN CAF COMPETITIONS
CAF Champions League:
1997 - First Round
2000 - First Round
2002 - First Round
2004 - Third Round
2006 - First Round
2007 - First Round
2008 - Preliminary Round
2010 - First Round
2011 - Preliminary Round
2012 -First Round
2013 - ?
CAF Confederation Cup:
2004 - Intermediate Round
2005 - Second Round
2009 - Second Round