Rwanda Premier League is Back! What You Should Expect

27 October 2021

After three months, the national football league returns this weekend as reigning champions APR FC, who are unbeaten in the past two league seasons, look forward to defending their league title while Rayon Sports looks a different side that finished seventh in one of the club's most disastrous seasons.

Times Sports bring you things you should expect ahead of the league campaign which kicks off Saturday, October 30.

It's no longer a one-horse race

Adil Erradi Muhamed and his reigning league champions APR FC are looking forward to winning their third league title in a row but the club's opponents, led by arch-rivals Rayon Sports and 2020/21 league runners-up AS Kigali, are determined not to let that happen.

The Moroccan tactician and his boys won the league on just goal difference ahead of AS Kigali but the just-closed transfer market simply shows Rayon Sport, AS Kigali, Police FC and Kiyovu SC will challenge them considering how they invested in the transfer window.

The 3-3 foreign quota rule impact

Many football analysts think the top flight league's performance standards were below bar until the football governing body welcomed the increment of foreign players to add more experience to the league under the revised foreign players' quota rule after clubs came to an agreement on the use of five foreign players in each club's 18-man squad.

The revised rule puts an end to the 3-3 rule which has been in place since 2013 under which top flight teams have been using only three foreign players in domestic tournaments, prompting clubs to raise concerns that the rule falls short when it comes to giving competition to home players - which, in turn, sinks the level of the league.

Clubs and pundits are now convinced that the 5-5 rule will be a huge boost and will turn Rwanda Premier League into an even more competitive league.

The return of football fans in stadium

After playing a full season behind closed doors due to the covid-19 restrictions, football clubs will be able to welcome their supporters back to stadiums ahead of the upcoming league season.

The return of football fans to the venues will not only bring the atmosphere back in stadiums but clubs will also benefit from entrance revenues to boost their financial welfare.

Rayon Sports was the first club to welcome fans back into stadiums as they gathered at Amahoro stadium to witness the presentation of the club's new players that will used next season during their routine 'Rayon Sports Day'

They might not turn up into venues to full capacity but a certain number to begin with, reference to the pandemic situation, will be decided by the Ministry of Sports.

Sponsorship

The sponsorship deal between Ferwafa and Bralirwa in March was thought to be of importance to clubs' financial stability but the football governing body says they need more sponsors on board.

Ferwafa's relationship with current sponsors has been going from bad to worse, especially since Olivier Mugabo Nizeyimana took office.

Upon being elected, Nizeyimana said that sponsorship offers which are way bigger than Bralirwa's current Rwf 640 million four-year sponsorship deal will be welcomed.

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