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newtimes - 1 month ago

APR confident of return to continental volleyball

APR men’s volleyball club have not graced Africa’s top competition since 2015 – making it a five-year absence on continental stage and six years since they clinched their last domestic league title. Elie Mutabazi, the head coach and a legend of the club, has said that he is confident the army side will be able to compete at the African Clubs Championships within two years again and his youthful team is ‘super motivated’ and has the potential to reach the level. Former regional giants, APR, finished sixth at the 2015 African championships in Sousse, Tunisia, before experiencing a sharp decline on local scene after losing most of their key players to newer teams in the league such as UNIK (now-defunct) and Gisagara. Speaking to Times Sport on Monday, Mutabazi admitted that his team’s failure to play African volleyball for the last five years was embarrassing but they are in a rebuilding process and “It will not take long before APR is back where we belong – at the top.” “We must be able to compete against the best on the continent in 2 years,” said the former APR and national team skipper. “We have a young, energetic and super motivated squad, we just need to add two or three senior players and start winning titles again.” Mutabazi was at the peak of his playing career as he inspired APR to three consecutive league titles from 2007 to 2009, the only side to do so in the last two decades. He has vowed to turn the black-and-white outfit into the powerhouse they used to be. In the coronavirus-hit 2019-20 season, APR are fourth – with 16 points – on the six-team league table, they are level with third-placed UTB. The two chasers trail leaders Rwanda Energy Group by six points and runners-up Gisagara by five points. “[I think] we have been patient enough with results, it is time to be a bit aggressive now. We are doing better so far this season than we did in the previous campaigns, so this level of maturity and never-die spirit should continue into the next season.” He further noted that this team’s goal this season is to feature in the playoffs games again after falling short last year, then step up their targets for the 2020-21 campaign. Agnes regory  --


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