AS Kigali have won their 11th Rwandan Women’s Premier League since the establishment of the club in 2008 despite a 2-1 shock defeat to nearest rivals Inyemera.
Kayitesi Egidia’s side had led the Rwandan women’s topflight table by 11 points before the last match of the season and the defeat now means they have an insurmountable lead to clinch the title with 45 points from 16 games on Sunday.
No team has ever won the national crown 11 times and the Rwandan coach was delighted with how her side have fared since she was elevated to the headship from an assistant role.
“It was a great joy and pleasure for us to win the [Rwandan] league because It really meant a lot to me,” Egidia told CAFOnline.com.
“It was my first time I won the Rwandan league as the head coach because I used to be an assistant coach. So, we are glad to be the champions.
“I’ve been with AS Kigali for about three years as an assistant coach but this was the year, I was given a chance to lead the team as head coach.
“Having a good leadership and getting along with staff members and team and also motivation among us are some of the reasons behind our dominance.”
No Rwanda representatives at at the inaugural CECAFA Women’s Champions League playoff in 2021 but the tactician admits their biggest obstacle now is to excel at the region and continental showpieces.
“Our next challenge will be to attend the TotalEnergies Women’s Champions League for the first time which will require us to work really hard because we will be competing with other top professional teams.
“I think we will be ready to compete in the Women’s Champions League this year because I have a pretty good team and we are determined and fully committed to performing well.”
Corroborating her head coach’s thoughts, team’s captain Gloria Sifa Nibagwire, who has been at the club since 2012 winning her 12th domestic title, attributed their success to teamwork.
“The secret of dominance of AS Kigali women is togetherness of my teammates throughout the season, hard work and unity among the team [players and coaches] and managers,” the Rwanda international told CAFOnline.com.
“As the captain, it was good thing to me in my career where I need to make sure everyone are putting in their efforts to serve the team and also to be there for them where they need help both personally and professionally.
“This is really special to me as a role model in women football in the country and it’s boost my hope and confidence to inspire a lot of women in Rwanda to support and believe in this game. Personally, it means a lot.”
On her next target, the She-Amavubi midfielder is setting her sights on taking the challenge beyond the country and soaring at the CAF TotalEnergies Women’s Champions League.
“We need to prove that we deserved to be where we are by challenging big teams at the international level again,” she continues.
“When I say this I always think about the legacy of Rwandan women football in general and I want to see this as a great opportunity to achieve more with this amazing team.
“Rwanda didn’t participate due to different reasons, especially COVID-19. We hope this year, we will participate as As Kigali women team.
“It is our desire to raise the flag of Rwanda women football at the international level. I hope we will be at the best to prove ourselves to the CECAFA zone, Africa and world and also inspire others to believe.”
As champions, AS Kigali were rewarded with a cash prize of RWF5 million ($5000) and also have qualified for the 2022 CECAFA Women’s Champions League playoffs as the country’s representatives.