The Azam Rwanda Premier League champions, Rayon Sports have vowed to stage a bright start to this year’s premier continental club championship.
The Blues face Burundian champions Lydia Ludic in the first leg of the preliminary round of the CAF Champions League on Saturday, February 11, 2018 at Amahoro Stadium.
“We are taking every game as it comes in the Champions League quest. Our focus and preparations are now on Lydia Ludic which we want to win before we start thinking our next opponent, Mamelodi Sundowns in the 1/16th final round,” added Karekezi.
The Burundian giants Lydia Ludic are expected to travel to Kigali on Friday ahead of the first leg game on Saturday. Rayon Sports will be required to get a good result in Kigali before making the return leg in Bujumbura on February 21.
Karekezi will miss the services of Cameroonian Christ Mbondi and Ugandan Yassin Mugume in the preliminary round but the pair could be a big boost in the next round as they will be cleared to don the Blues jersey.
If Rayon Sports qualifies for the first round, they will have a mountain to climb against the 2016 champions Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa.
Rayon Sports were eliminated in the third round of CAF Confederation Cup last year, while APR were eliminated in the first round of qualifiers of CAF Champions League.
In the three times that Burundian teams have drawn Rwandan teams, they have managed to eliminate them twice.
Vital’O eliminated APR FC in CAF Champions League and LLB eliminated Police FC in 2013 in Confederation Cup while in 2014 AS Kigali eliminated Academie Tchite.
There are over 25 matches scheduled for the weekend in the first leg matches of the preliminary round. The second leg matches will take place next weekend with the winners advancing to the 1/16th round.
Meanwhile, holders Wydad Athletic Club of Motrocco, Al Ahly (Egypt), Etoile du Sahel (Tunisia), Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa) and TP Mazembe (DR Congo) have drawn a bye at the prelims
Saturday, 10 February 2018
Rayon Sports (Rwanda) vs Lydia Academic (Burundi)
CNaPs Sport (Madagascar) vs KCCA (Uganda)
Zanaco (Zambia) vs Armed Forces (Gambia)
Stade Malien (Mali) vs Williamsville AC (Cote d’Ivoire)
RC Kadiogo (Burkina Faso) vs Mounana (Gabon)
AS FAN (Niger) vs Horoya (Guinea)
Generation Foot (Senegal) vs Makkassa (Egypt)
Young Africans (Tanzania) vs Saint Louis (Seychelles)
Township Rollers (Botswana) vs El Merreikh (Sudan)
Gor Mahia (Kenya) vs Leones Vegatarianos (Equatorial Guinea)
Concorde (Mauritania) vs Esperance (Tunisia)
AC Leopards (Congo) vs AS Port (Togo)
JKU (Zanzibar) vs Zesco (Zambia)
Difaa El Jadida (Morocco) vs Benfica (Guinea Bissau)
Bidvest (South Africa) vs Pamplemousses (Mauritius)
Sunday, 11 February 2018
Saint George (Ethiopia) vs Al Salam Wau (South Sudan)
Bantu (Lesotho) vs Mbabane Swallows (Swaziland)
El Tahadi (Libya) vs Aduana (Ghana)
ES Setif (Algeria) vs Olympic de Bangui (Central African Republic)
AS Real (Mali) vs MFM (Nigeria)
AS Otoho (Congo) vs MC Alger (Algeria)
Plateau United (Nigeria) vs Eding Sport (Cameroon)
LISCR (Liberia) vs El Hilal (Sudan)
Buffles (Benin) vs ASEC Mimosas (Cote d’Ivoire)
Ngaya (Comoros) vs UD Songo (Mozambique)
AS Vita (DR Congo) vs Be Forward (Malawi)
Primeiro de Agosto (Angola) vs FC Platinum (Zimbabwe)