It was an emotional moment for SC Kiyovu fans at Mumena Stadium yesterday. Some fans were seen trying to hold back tears over what will be remembered as a dark day in the history of one of Rwanda's oldest football clubs. The Nyamirambo-based club was relegated to the second division tier for the first time since its establishment in 1964.
"I have never felt so bad all my life; it's unbelievable that my team will play in the second division next season, but hopefully we shall be able to come back at the first attempt, we shall never forget this day," said one elderly SC Kiyovu fan, who could not hold back tears at the end of the game.
The club was relegated from the topflight league after losing 1-2 in the final match of the league against old rivals Rayon Sports, who won the league for the eighth time at Mumena stadium but without receiving the trophy. The champions will receive the trophy at a later date.
The three-time league champions went into the game seeking to win and hope that either Gicumbi FC or Kirehe FC lose their matches. Gicumbi lost 1-3 at home to Pepiniere that had been relegated already, while Kirehe FC beat Mukura Victory Sports in Huye.
Kiyovu fans were banking on hope that Rayon Sports coach Masudi Djuma would field a weak side but the former Burundi international had other ideas as he put out a strong team.
Malian striker Tidiane Kone broke the hearts of Kiyovu fans in the 32nd minute to send Rayon fans into wild celebrations and although the first half ended 1-0, the champions dominated and created several scoring opportunities.
Rayon Sports began the second half the same way they ended the first by pressing hard in search for more goals and they increased their score through Burundian Pierrot Kwizera's perfect free kick in the 71st minute.
Djabir Mutarambirwa's Kiyovu, who looked hapless for most of the game, pulled one back through former Amavubi striker Andre Lomami in stoppage time, however, it was too little too late as some home fans were already shading tears even before the full-time whistle.
With Gicumbi losing 3-1 to already relegated Pepiniere FC, a draw would have been enough to save the Green Baggies from relegation.
SC Kiyovu was formed in 1964 and had never been relegated since then. During their 53 years in the top flight, they won three league titles in 1983, 1992 and 1993.
In other games, former champions APR were stunned 2-1 by Bugesera FC to end a dismal first half season in charge for head coach Jimmy Mulisa as the military side finished in the third place with 57 points.
Police FC sealed second-place finish after thrashing Marines FC 4-2 at Kicukiro Stadium while AS Kigali ended the season in the fourth place after defeating Espoir 1-0.
Mukura VS 0-1 Kirehe FC
Gicumbi FC 1-3 Pepiniere
APR FC 1-2 Bugesera
Police FC 4-2 Marines
Musanze 1-0 Sunrise FC
Espoir 0-1 AS Kigali
SC Kiyovu 1-2 Rayon Sports