Four-time Nigeria champions, Kano Pillars, have commended Rivers United following their qualification for the group stage of the continent's second tier inter-club competition, CAF Confederation Cup, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
Rivers United on Saturday in far away Kigali, Rwanda, held out for a scoreless draw against home side, Rayon Sports, to go through on 2-0 aggregate having triumphed 2-0 in the first leg a week earlier in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
Pillars recognised the importance of the outcome, stressing it would have been a big slap on Nigeria and her domestic football league if all her four representatives had crashed out of the continental showpiece.
Rangers and Rivers United represented Nigeria in the CAF Champions League, but were all eliminated, dropping down to the Confederation Cup where Rangers crashed with a 5-2 aggregate defeat to Zesco United of Zambia.
FC Ifeanyiubah and Wikki Tourists had earlier lost out in the Confederation Cup race.
Idris Malikawa, the official spokesman of Kano Pillars told Completesportsnigeria.com in Enugu that Rivers United are indeed Pride of Nigeria.
"It would have been a shame of monumental proportion to Nigeria and the NPFL if all our four representatives had failed to reach the group stage of the CAF inter-club competitions this year," Malikawa told Completesportsnigeria.com.
"On this premise, the management, players, coaches and supporters of Kano Pillars say a big congratulation to Rivers United.
"They have done the nation proud.
"They have cleansed the mud that the exit of Rangers, FC Ifeanyiubah and Wikki Tourists from the continent smeared on our faces.
"They have restored a measure of respect to the Nigeria Professional Football League.
"By this singular performance, they have demonstrated that they are indeed true Pride of Nigeria and not only Pride of Rivers.
"If we win this game against Rangers, we would dedicate it to them (but they lost 3-1).
"We wish them all the best in the coming games.
"They should continue to work hard and with support of all Nigerians, they will achieve their ambition of wrestling the trophy," Malikawa said.