Second division: The road to the semi finals

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Second division: The road to the semi finals
Second division: The road to the semi finals

Africa-PressRwanda. Semi-finals First Leg

Saturday

Amagaju FC vs Etoile de l’Est FC

Heroes FC vs Gicumbi FC

Two tickets are up for grabs as second division league clubs Gicumbi FC, Heroes FC, Etoile de l’Est and Amagaju FC fight for promotion to next season’s top flight league which kicks off on October 30.

The quartet on Wednesday, October 6, secured their qualification to the semi-finals of the ongoing second division league and a lot is at stake as the league is on the verge of conclusion.

As the teams prepare to square off in the semi-finals on Saturday, October 9, Times Sport takes you through how each of the four clubs reached the semi-finals.

Gicumbi

Gicumbi are unbeaten in the past six games throughout the campaign so far, winning four times and drawing twice in the process. They eliminated Kirehe FC with a convincing 6-2 victory on aggregate to set their date against Heroes FC as the club targets a return to the top flight league after just one season.

The two clubs are fighting for a ticket to the premier league a year after football governing body (Ferwafa) decided to relegate them to the second division after the league was canceled after just 23 match days due to the coronavirus.

Etoile de l’Est

The Eastern Province-based club are seen by many as the ‘unlucky’ club based on how many times they missed out on the top flight promotion in the final stages.

They have been knocking on the door to the top flight league for 17 years and have on many occasions been tipped among the favorites to progress to the top flight league but luck didn’t go their way.

Last season, for instance, the club were knocked out of the semi-finals following a shock defeat to Gorilla FC on penalties after a goalless draw. They were also eliminated by Heroes FC in the semi-finals of the 2018-19 season playoffs.

However, head coach Issa Camarade Banamwana is confident that ‘time is now’ for his side to finally earn a promotion to the top flight league. The club is unbeaten from the group stages while they reached the semi-finals after eliminating Rugende FC with a narrow 1-0 aggregate win in the quarter finals.

Their dream of making it to the premier league will depend on how they fare during their semi-final games against Amagaju FC in a two-legged fixture that will decide who earns a top flight league promotion.

Heroes FC

Like Gicumbi, Heroes FC also described Ferwafa’s decision to relegate them to the second division as ‘unfair’ but the club later chose to start afresh and forgot being carried away by their relegation disappointment.

The journey has so far been impressive with a defeat in the past six outings but any mistake in the semi-final games against Gicumbi could cost them a chance to return to the top flight league. The two teams were relegated together in the 2019/2020 league season but only one of the two will get promoted to next season’s premier league.

Amagaju FC

The Southern Province-based club could have sealed a spot in the topflight league during the 2019/20 season had the pandemic not cost them a chance to play the playoffs last year after 11 players tested positive for coronavirus.

The club were hence disqualified to play the quarter finals of the second division after they were penalised for recklessness and violating preventive guidelines.

The club began this season’s second division league campaign having an upper hand on the chance to seal the top flight league promotion and, as they close in on the race, only Etoile de l’Est are on their way.

The club finished top of the table in the group stages and hasn’t lost a single game yet having overcome the challenge from Vision FC in the quarter finals on a 1-0 victory on aggregate. They must get the job done in deciding a two-legged encounter against Etoile de l’Est if they really want to return to the premier league.

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