Stanley Eguma, Technical Manager of Rivers United has exclusively told <strong>Completesports.com that his prayer to God is for his players to remain injury-free as they prepare to host Wydad Athletic Club, Morocco, in the first leg of the 2022/2023 CAF Champions League last preliminary round fixture on Sunday October 9 2022.
The Moroccan are current holders of Africa’s most glamorous interclub competition following victory over Al Ahly in the one-legged final of the 20212022 edition staged in Rabat, Morocco.
The Pride of Rivers have their necks tightly screwed onto their heads for triumph over the Moroccan giants to earn a spot, for the first time, in the money-spinning stage of Africa’s flagship interclub championship.
“I’m grateful to God who has taken us this far in the competition,” Eguma who’s fondly called ‘Zagalo’ by his admirers told Completesports.com.
“At this stage, we need to work extremely hard to cross the Wydad bridge if we must achieve our ambition of playing in the group stage.
“Wydad is a strong team with a huge pedigree in the continent.
“The fact that they are defending champions attests to their strength and quality.”
Eguma added: “So we must give it, our 100% attention and above all, the players need to stay out of injury going into the game.
“This is very important because, at this stage, we need the full strength of the team.”
Eguma and his charges are not new to Maghreb confrontations. In 2017, at this stage of the same competition, they met Club Africain of Tunisia but crashed out on the aggregate scoreline.
“We don’t have any reason not to cross the Wydad hurdle,” Eguma added.
“The players are well motivated, thanks to the Executive Governor of Rivers State, His Excellency, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, who has ensured the team lacked absolutely nothing.
“The Commissioner for Sports, Barrister Christopher Green has been incredibly supportive and the Management too.
“So, we are looking forward to reciprocating this huge support by securing the ticket for the group stage”.
In their previous fixture, Rivers United saw off ‘stubborn’ Wataga of Liberia 3-1 on aggregate.
The Nigerian Champions won 3-0 in the first leg in Port Harcourt but went down 0-1 in the reverse fixture in the ‘battle of Monrovia’.
Reflecting on their Monrovia adventure, Eguma said his boys deserved a pat on the back for standing up strongly despite all odds.
“I must give my players kudos. They gave a fantastic performance in Monrovia.
“We deserved to win the game or at worse a draw. My players carried out every detail of our prematch plan.
“We had the game under control, decoded well their game plan and earned a deserved penalty appeal when we caught them on the counter. But rather than the obvious penalty, the ball was pulled way back for a free kick.
“That was in the first half, before they were awarded a penalty that was not as glaring as the one we were denied.
“Our experience in Liberia is an eye Opener. We’ve learnt from it going into the next,game (against Wydad of Morocco),” Eguma stressed.
Though Rivers United have not won the CAF Champions League title as a club, Eguma helped Enyimba to win it in 2004, to underscore his rich coaching experience.Copyright © 2021 Completesports.com All rights reserved. The information contained in Completesports.com may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the prior written authority of Completesports.com.