AS Muhanga stun Police FC as APR FC are crowned 2017/18 ARPL champions

By Samson Iradukunda
On 22 October 2018 at 09:00

Police Football Club has lost their first 2018/19 Azam Rwanda Premier League game to AS Muhanga, fresh from the second division, in the new season that kicked off last Friday as APR FC were handed the 2017/18 title.

Muhanga FC who finished second in the Second Division League to qualify for a promotion to the first division defeated Police FC 2-1 in a game staged at Muhanga Stadium in Muhanga District on Sunday.

Yannick Bizimana and Aime Ntirushwa scored for the hosts while Eric Ngendahimana netted a consolation goal for the visitors who finished six in the last season.

The 2018/19 Azam Rwanda Premier League (ARPL), Rwanda’s national football league division, sponsored by Azam TV, kicked off on Friday, October 19, 2018, when APR FC, the incumbent champions were handed the 2017/18 trophy before beating Amagaju FC 2-0 at Kigali Stadium in Nyamirambo.

APR FC won the league title in July this year with 66 points but the crowning ceremony had to be postponed due to the regional club and continental national team engagements, and Rwanda Football Federation (FERWAFA) opted to hand-over the 17th trophy title on the opening day of the season.

Muhadjir Hakizimana, the reigning ARPL best player and left winger Dominique Savio Nshuti scored for the military side to start the title-defending campaign on a high note.

The action continued on Saturday, October 20, when Rayon Sports traveled to Rubavu District and beat Ettincelles 1-0.

Burundian born forward Bonfils Caleb Bimenyimana scored for the ARPL 2017/18 winners with Brazilian Roberto Oliveira Goncalves do Carmo as the head coach for his first full season since joining the eight-time champions in May replacing Belgian Ivan Minnaert who has joined Libyan side Al-Itihad as head coach.

In other games on Saturday, Espoir FC traveled from Rusizi District in West to Northern Province to hold Gicumbi FC to a goalless draw in a game at Gicumbi Stadium while Kirehe Football Club was beaten home 0-2 by SC Kiyovu whose goals were netted by their skipper Alexis Ngirimana and Innocent Habyarimana.

Huye based Mukura Victory Sports defeated Sunrise FC away from Nyagatare District 1-0 in a game that saw the hosts reduced to ten men as Alexis Nkomezi was sent off for a second yellow card he was shown for fouling Espoir’s Mamadou Mbazumutima in the 59th minute.
Hussein Ciza was the only player on the score sheet as he netted for the hosts in the 17th minute of the game that was played at Huye Stadium in South.

While Muhanga FC gave Police FC Zambian coach Albert Mphande a tough season start on Sunday, the Kigali City sponsored side, AS Kigali could not get the three points against visitors Musanze FC with their clash ending in a 1-1 draw.

Assisted by Ugandan born Mohammed Med, Japhet Imurora netted for the visitors five minutes before halftime and Jean Claude Ndarusanze, the last season top scorer, equalized only 80 seconds after the start of second half of the game that Juma Masudi, AS Kigali new coach watched in the stands before he starts his job on Monday.

At Umuganda Stadium, home in Rubavu District, Marines FC were held to a 1-1 draw by Bugesera FC who got an equalizer by Djihad Rucogoza who scored to make it 1-1 in the second half after the hosts had opened the scores through Benjamin Tuyishime who converted a well-taken penalty in the 26th minute to give his side a halftime lead.

The Azam Rwanda Premier League 2018/19 match day two will continue on Friday, October 26 when Police FC host Espoir FC at Kicukir Stadium while SC Kiyovu clash with Marines FC at Umumena Stadium.

On Saturday, October 27, title defenders APR FC will travel to North for a tie against Musanze FC while AS Kigali clash with Kirehe FC at Nyakarambi Stadium.

Rayon Sports will face Mukura VS at Kigali Stadium three months after Mukura defeated them 3-1 on penalties to win Peace Cup 2018 and qualified to the CAF Confederation Cup 2018 while AS Kigali visit Kirehe FC at Nyakarambi Stadium among big matches.

APR FC were handed the last season's title on Friday as the crowning ceremony was delayed by regional and national teams engagement