By: Abiodun Adewale.
Chairman of Rivers United, Okey Kpalukwu, says the team has the quality to win this season’s CAF Confederation Cup but that will be impossible if they continue to play their home matches at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo.
For the second consecutive season, Rivers United are adopting the Nest of Champions as their home ground for the competition after the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt was not approved by the Confederation of African Football.
In the wake of their 2-1 loss to Dreams FC of Ghana in Kumasi on Sunday, Kpalukwu lamented what he perceived as lack of fairness in approving grounds in the competition, noting that the pitch in Kumasi was not better than Port Harcourt, yet they had to play their home matches in Uyo.
“My (our) pitch at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt is better than several other pitches that I (we) played on, in the continent, including that of Sunday’s game in Kumasi, Ghana, yet CAF approved it for the club because they have their people upstairs protecting their interests in CAF,” Kpalukwu said.
He also lamented the inability of their fans to watch their games at home.
“There’s no place like one’s home ground, we want Nigerians, including our fans in Port Harcourt to come out enmasse and be saved the stress of traveling outside of Rivers State to support us. We will once again appeal through the appropriate channel, the Nigeria Football Federation interface with CAF to allow us play in Port Harcourt because our stadium meets all their requirements.”
With one win and one loss in two games, the former NPFL champions will hope to go one better this season in the competition after they were knocked out in the quarter-final by Tanzanian club Young Africans last season.