Nigerian side Rivers United claim they are undaunted despite ‘going through hell’ to come and fulfil their Caf Confederation Cup fixture against Bloemfontein Celtic on Wednesday.
A Nigerian publication on Wednesday reported that the team “were forced to go through ‘hell’ by South African officials to even make today’s first leg. But the team is undaunted”.
This comes after the visa delays the team faced to travel to Johannesburg on Friday last week as initially planned.
The permanent secretary of the Rivers State Ministry of Sports, Honour Sirawoo, on Thursday told the Nigerian media that the Port Harcourt-based side met all demands by the South African Embassy but were still not issued visas.
“Up till this moment, we (officials and players) have not been granted visas by the South African Embassy in Abuja. One of our officials is still at the embassy in Abuja and we are hoping that it will be sorted out so that we can travel tomorrow (Friday),” Sirawoo said at the time.
Rivers had to reschedule their trip and ended up arriving in Johannesburg on Sunday for the clash set for the Dr. Petrus Molemela Stadium in Bloemfontein (at 18h00).
Rivers coach Stanley Eguma, however, said they would not be discouraged by what they went through.
He believes Celtic will be a hard nut to crack, but insists his team has not come this far to let Nigerians down.
“We are expecting nothing but a tough match in South Africa and we have understood that this competition requires the best from the player, the technical crew, and the management.
“We need to work round the clock to ensure we get good results because as it stands now, the state government and Nigerians, in general, are behind the team and we can’t afford to let them down, not even at time that our brothers (Kano Pillars and Plateau United) have been knocked out of the competition.”
The return leg will be played at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt on January 6, 2021.
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By Mthokozisi Dube