NPFL Champions Rivers United Crash Out of the CAF Confederations Cup

NPFL Champions Rivers United Crash Out of the CAF Confederations Cup
Young Africans' Mudathiri Yahya Abasi and Rivers United's Chukwu Ugochukwu Morice in action.

The Rivers United Football Club of Port Harcourt went head-to-head against the Young Africans of Tanzania in the second leg of their CAF Confederations Cup quarter-final at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in Dar es Salaam on Sunday evening.

The first leg of this encounter was played at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo, Nigeria, where the visitors, Young Africans, won 2-0 thanks to a Fiston Mayele second-half double. It was a surprise result as Rivers United won two consecutive games against Young Africans before the encounter in Nigeria.

Rivers United fans, who've been hopeful of their team's chances of qualifying into the semi-finals, kept believing in the Pride of Rivers to go to Tanzania and do the miraculous, but their wishes never materialized.

After their first leg loss at home, coach Stanley Eguma, rued his team's missed opportunities during the game and the absence of key players to prosecute the tie due to injuries. But he was optimistic ahead of the return leg, stating that his team would give their all in Tanzania.

Rivers United avoided defeat in the second leg, but it was not enough to cancel out the two-goal deficit they incurred at home last weekend in Uyo as the Tanzanian side ran out a 2-0 aggregate win.

Rivers United's coach kept encouraging his boys, but as time passed, the Pride of Rivers couldn't find a way of breaching the home defence, as the home side was motivated to defend their two-goal lead to the end.

Suspected security breach

Interestingly, reports poured it that barely 24 hours before the game's kickoff, Rivers United's bus was attacked by the home fans, sprayed with toxic chemicals and valuables worth thousands of dollars stolen. The unsportsmanlike act continued into the game, prompting the matchday referee to suspend hostilities after 24 minutes of play due to a floodlight failure, which fans felt was intentionally carried out to demoralize the visitors. When power was restored, the two teams received 10 minutes to warm up before the game resumed.

Rivers United have filed a petition to CAF on the incident. African football's apex body has sent an inspection team to inspect the bus reportedly attacked. Rivers United now awaits disciplinary actions from CAF concerning the inhumane treatment meted out to them.

Teams left in the CAF Confederations Cup

With Rivers United knocked out, the Young Africans of Tanzania will face Marumo Gallants FC of South Africa in the semi-finals after the South African side pipped the Pyramids of Egypt 1-0 at home to qualify 2-1 on aggregate.

USM Alger and Asec Mimosas are the other two teams left in the competition. These four teams will battle it out for a place in the finals in June.

Rivers United will leave their continental misfortunes behind and focus on the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) as they host their south-south neighbours, Bayelsa United, this weekend.

This article was most recently revised and updated 1 year ago

Chandan is a passionate writer, editor, and marketer with a love for football. He has bylines in leading online publications and has worked with renowned sports brands like The Olympics, Fox Sports Asia, and the Indian Super League (ISL). As for the unimpressive part, he loves Chelsea.