Rwanda: Are AS Kigali's Title Hopes Over?

AS Kigali have proved that they can win their first league title after pushing champions APR FC in the title race since the national football league started in May.

The City of Kigali-Sponsored have been top of the league table for most of the season ahead of APR on goal difference but a 6-0 thrashing of over Marines last week saw the army side leap over their rivals and register a 4 goal difference.

Both clubs have 16 points.

Striker Lague Byiringiro bagged a hat trick while Djabel Manishimwe, Fitina Ombalenga and Yves Mugunga scored a goal apiece to put Marines FC to the sword on Saturday, June 19, at Huye Stadium.

Meanwhile, AS Kigali struggled for goals against Bugesera FC, who were playing on their home ground, until Fiston Nkinzingabo scored the lone goal of the match.

Sports journalist Eddie Sabiti has been closely following the title race between the two clubs and says it is not a guarantee that APR will be crowned champions although he acknowledges that they are the favourities.

"AS Kigali's hopes for the title are not over despite being behind APR FC on goal difference. We are talking about a club which has an attacking force with quality players who can score against any opponent and a team which has had an amazing season so far. So you can't easily write them off," Sabiti told Times Sport.

AS Kigali's forward line will need to be more clinical than ever when they face Police FC in their last league fixture and coach Eric Nshimiyimana will be happy to have Hakizimana and Lawal return from injury.

Meanwhile, APR FC conclude their league campaign with a visit to Rutsiro, a fixture that could either see them go two league seasons unbeaten or blow their title push on the last day.

Sabiti said APR FC have put themselves in a good position to retain the league title with last week's win, but warned it would be too soon to celebrate it until the final day which he says could have some surprises in store.

"I don't expect to see APR FC celebrating before the last game because they know they are facing a tough opponent in Rutsiro FC who have shown that they can make any team suffer," he added.

A league title for AS Kigali would not only be the very first in the club's history but would also see shot stopper Eric Bakame Ndayishimiye become the first Rwandan goalkeeper, if not the first player, to win at least a league title in four different clubs in the history of Rwanda's top flight league, having previously won league trophies on different occasions with now-defunct Atraco FC, Rayon Sports and APR FC.

That gives Bakame the motivation to help his team keep fighting to become the first club to beat either APR or Rayon to such a silverware since ATRACO did the same in 2008.

"I am doing my best to help my team to reach such a huge achievement. We are doing all we can to win every single game and we can't give up on the league. There is still a chance. Our focus is on winning our last game," Ndayishimiye told Times Sport in an interview.

Match Day 6 results

APR FC 6-0 Marines

Bugesera FC 0-1 AS Kigali

Police FC 2-1 Espoir FC

More From: New Times

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