APR players celebrate after scoring against La Jeunesse in a Primus League match last weekend. The New Times / T. Kisambira

Primus National Football League champions APR Fc has now ruled out build-up matches before their Orange Champions’ League preliminary round clash against Kenya’s Tusker Fc on February 18.

Club Secretary Adolphe Kalisa explained to this paper that the decision was taken after failing to secure friendly matches against URA.

URA was supposed to play APR this Saturday but according to Kalisa, the Ugandan side was denied permission by its local federation (FUFA) to travel to Rwanda due to the ongoing Ugandan Super League.

“We requested for friendlies against URA but unfortunately it was not possible. We will now use the Primus League clash against Police as preparation for the match against Tusker,” Kalisa said.

Police is currently three points adrift of APR in the Primus league but the law enforcers have a game in hand.

APR’s performances in regional and continental competitions have been woeful in recently years, and the military side was ejected from the Cecafa Kagame cup and African Champions League in the first rounds last season.

APR went on a huge shopping spree in the off season in a bid to curb that predicament where they brought in players like Amavubi captain Olivier Karekezi, Burundian internationals Pappy Fatty and Seleman Ndikumana, Ugandan Internationals Dan Wagaruka and Habib Kavuma and a host of Brazilians.

Meanwhile, Kenya title holders Tusker Fc believe they possess enough ammunition to brew a successful campaign on their return to continental competition.

The team unveiled their 11 new signings on Tuesday exuding confidence they would also mount a triumphant defence of the domestic title they won for the first time since 2007 last season.

“It’s just wise that when you are playing tough tournaments, you need to have strong players. We signed wholesale since we needed quality players in attack, midfield and defence,” head coach Sammy Omolo said.

Tusker will play APR in the first leg of their preliminary round of the CAF Champions League in Nairobi with the return fixture a fortnight later in Kigali.

The aggregate winners of the tie will face the acid test of Tunisian giants Etoile Sahel on the weekends of March 23 and 25 as well as April 6 and 8 in the competition’s first round.

APR has managed nine previous forays in the continental showpiece club competition with a third round appearance in the 2004 season marking their furthest progression in the tournament where the champions earn $1 million (Rwf 595m) as well as an appearance at the FIFA Club World Cup.

Last season, APR crashed out in the first round after losing to Tunisia’s Club Africain (2-6) on aggregates.

The previous year, DRC’s TP Mazembe ejected the army side in the second round en-route to winning the competition.

By Ostine Arinaitwe & By Bonnie Mugabe, The New Times

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