Rivers United rue missed opportunity, return to NPFL this weekend

Following their elimination from the CAF Confederation Cup at the quarterfinal stage by Algeria’s USM Alger, Rivers United have said that they will turn their attention to the Nigerian Premier Football League (NPFL), where they have some grounds to recover.

The Stanley Eguma boys lost their round of eight CAF Confederation game to USM Algers 2-1 on aggregate following their 0-2 defeat by the North Africans in Algiers on Sunday night after a 1-0 victory in the first leg in Uyo a week earlier.

Speaking on his team’s inability to achieve their ambition of being Nigeria’s first team to win the CAF Confederation Cup title, Rivers United’s Manager, Stanley Eguma, blamed the Port Harcourt side’s ouster on poor marksmanship, saying the story would have been different if his wards had takenhalf of the chances they created in the first leg of the tie.

He said: “We lost the game in Nigeria, where we created a lot of chances and converted only one.

“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.”

Eguma said his side is now focused on recovering lost ground, to return to the continent next season.

Rivers United are marooned in the 17th position in the 20-team NPFL, but they have six outstanding matches, having played only 23 to the other NPFL teams’ 29 in the 38-week season.

They are on 31 points, while leaders, Enugu Rangers and Lobi Stars are on 51 points apiece, with Rangers on top due to their superior goals difference. Third and fourth-placed Remo Stars and Enyimba are on 49 and 48 points respectively, which means that Rivers United will rise to the top four if they get the maximum 18 points from their six outstanding matches.

The NPFL told The Guardian yesterday that its match committee would soon meet with Rivers United to rearrange their postponed games to suit all the parties involved. But before then, the ‘Pride of Rivers’ will return to the league this weekend for a week 30 game against Plateau United in Port Harcourt.

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