By Abiodun Adewale.
Head coach of Rivers United, Stanley Eguma, has tendered an apology to supporters of the club following their elimination from the CAF Confederation Cup.
Despite progressing into the knockout stages with a game to spare, the current Nigeria Professional Football League champions could not go past the quarter-final stage as they were eliminated by Young Africans of Tanzania 2-0 on aggregate.
Eguma’s side fell to a 2-0 defeat at home in the first leg of the quarter-final clash in Uyo and could not do much to overturn the deficit in the second leg which ended goalless in Dar es Salaam on Sunday.
The gaffer admitted the game was lost from the first leg, but also gave credit to their exploits in the competition, having made the knockout stages for the first time in the history of the club.
“It’s unfortunate we have to exit the competition, but we have come a long way and in the history of the team, this is the first time we are reaching this stage, so we have done well,” Eguma said after the game.
“The thing is, Nigerians had a lot of hope in us based on our performance so far, and I think losing 2-0 in Nigeria cost us the fixture. If we had got a better result at home, we would have qualified here. We tried to get a goal as early as possible in the first half but unfortunately, we couldn’t. We also tried the flanks in the second half too.
“It’s a lesson for us and we also use this opportunity to apologise to Nigerians who had so much hope in us being the only team on the continent, next time we will do better,” the coach concluded.
With the continental challenge out of the picture, Rivers United will return to action in the domestic scene on Thursday, when they take on Enyimba in a high-profile Federation Cup round of 64 game in Uyo.
After that, they will also have to honour three outstanding matches in the NPFL, plus two other remaining fixtures, with two weeks to the end of the regular season.