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Usengimana a big miss for Young clash – Minnaert

Posted on May 14 2018

RAYON Sports will face Tanzanian champions Young Africans without star defender Faustin Usengimana when the two regional giants face off Wednesday in Dar es Salaam.

Both sides will be playing their second game in Group D. Rayon were held 1-1 by Kenya’s Gor Mahia in the opening game in Kigali while Young Africans were thumped 4-0 by Algerian giants and former CAF Champions League finalists USM Alger.

According to head coach Ivan Minneart, the absence of the centre-back is such a ‘huge’ blow for the Blues. Usengimana, 24, will be missing the clash for accumulative two yellow cards from the past two games, one against Costa do Sol in the playoffs, and another against Gor Mahia on May 6.

“Usengimana is an influential player who will be missing; it’s absolutely not an easy gap to fill,” the Belgian technician told Times Sport on Sunday.

With the absence of former APR defender, Minneart hopes one of the centre-backs Ange Mutsinzi, Thierry Manzi and Gabriel Mugabo will cover the gap.

Rwanda international Abdul Rwatubyaye would have been a good option for Minneart but the celebrated central defender is yet to get cleared for CAF competitions. According to club officials, he will be getting his licence in July.

Meanwhile, Rayon Sports have confirmed midfielder Yannick Mukunzi and full-back Eric Rutanga are back in training and ready for Young Africans clash after a week off.

Mukunzi hurt his left knee during the 1-all draw against Gor Mahia while Rutanga had been diagnosed with a blood infection.

Minneart will also be welcoming midfielder Djabel Manishimwe after he missed the club’s last four games with a knee injury.

However, Olivier ‘Sefu’ Niyonzima has been ruled out of the much anticipated tie against Young Africans after a heel injury.

Rayon depart for Dar today
The eight-time Rwandan champions will be departing for Dar es Salaam this evening aboard a RwandAir flight. Once in Tanzania, they will undergo a couple of training drills in the coast city before taking on the 27-time Tanzanian champions.

After one game each, USM Alger top Group D with maximum three points, Gor Mahia are second with one point, Rayon third with also one point, while Young Africans are at the bottom without a single point.

Photo: Rayon Sports will travel to Tanzania without star defender Faustin Usengimana (right), who was booked twice in the last two CAF games. Here, he challenges Gor Mahia’s forward Meddie Kagere in a 1-1 draw in Kigali just over a week ago. File

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