Confed Cup: We’re not afraid of Enyimba, insist Rivers


’Tosin Oluwalowo

Nigeria Professional Football League side, Rivers United, insist they are not afraid of Enyimba when both sides meet in the last preliminary stage of the CAF Confederations Cup.

The first leg will take place at the Enyimba Stadium Aba February 14, while Rivers host the return leg at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, Port Harcourt February 21.

Both sides were pitted against each other after Rivers defeated South African side Bloemfontein Celtic 5-0 on aggregate, while Enyimba dropped to the second tier competition after losing to Sudanese side El Merreikh in the CAF Champions League.

Speaking with our correspondent on Tuesday, Rivers coach Stanley Eguma said even though they respect Enyimba, they would beat the two-time African champions to qualify for the group stage.

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“There is no special preparation, it is just our normal preparations for the continent. Ordinarily, one wouldn’t have loved playing Enyimba in this tournament, because as Nigerian teams, we would have loved the two teams to be in the group stage so that we can bring honour to the country. But now that the fixtures have pitted us together, we don’t have any option than to play them,” Eguma told The PUNCH.

“We have respect for Enyimba because they have a lot of experience on the continent, they have won the Champions League back-to-back in the past and they have been playing in the continent all these while. So, we know that they are very strong on the continent, but this is football, we must defend our name and ensure that we bring laurels to the country too. We must prepare as usual to play the game and ensure that we qualify for the next round.”

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“It is going to be an interesting and difficult game, but at the end, our ambition is to win and qualify for the group stage,” he added.

Powerful Rivers defender Ifeanyi Anaemena will be playing against his former teammates when both sides clash, and admits it would be an emotional tie for him.

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“The fixtures have been drawn and we are going to go all out to ensure that we advance to the group stage.

 “For me, it is going to be an emotional game playing against my former team that I was very comfortable with. It’s going to be emotional and inspirational. But it is football, and I’m going to give it my all.”

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