Rivers United target return to CAF football

Rivers United target return to CAF football
Stanley Eguma, coach of Rivers United during the CAF Confederation Cup 2023/24 Quarterfinals Press Conference Rivers United at 5 July 1962 Stadium in Algiers , Algeria on 06 April 2024 ©Djaffar Ladjal/BackpagePix

by Thando Mpembe

Wednesday Apr 10, 2024. 13:52

Rivers United manager Stanley Eguma will shift his focus to the Nigerian Premier Football League now that his team have been eliminated from the CAF Confederation Cup.

The Pride of Rivers exited the competition at the quarter-final stages following a 2-1 aggregate defeat to defending champions USM Alger and they have some ground to make up in the league, but is their challenge already over?

Eguma’s side find themselves down in 17th place, a massive 20 points adrift of league leaders Enugu Rangers, although they have six games in hand due to their continental commitments.

However, the Port Harcourt outfit have already lost eight matches this season, the same number as the Flying Antelopes and they cannot afford to drop much more points in their quest to qualify for African football again.

Remo Stars currently occupy the final CAF berth as they trail the top two of Enugu Rangers and Lobi Stars by two points, meaning that Rivers United need to pick up maximum points from their six outstanding fixtures.

Goal difference is another factor as the Pride of Rivers have scored 25 and conceded 22, while the Sky Blue Stars hold a plus-six advantage over them.

Eguma admitted a lack of cutting edge in front of goal led to their downfall against USM Alger, who won 2-0 in the second leg at the Stade du 5 Juillet on Sunday.

“We lost the game in Nigeria, where we created a lot of chances and converted only one,” he said. “Anyone who watched the game, even here, will know that we had our fair chances, but we failed to convert.

“Assuming we converted one or two, it would have made the difference but that’s football. If we had taken our chances, they would have been under pressure.

“I thank my players too because it’s not easy to play against the champions and they too must have known that Rivers United are not pushovers. We hope to bounce back next season.”

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