Ahead of their Aiteo Cup semi-final showdown, Rivers United coach Stanley Eguma has described Bayelsa United as a ‘good side’, saying he won’t underrate the Nigeria National League (NNL) outfit after their impressive run in the competition this year.
Bayelsa United have accounted for the exits of former champions and Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) sides Rangers and Lobi Stars from the competition this season, and eliminated Gateway United 5-4 on penalties to set up a last 4 clash with Eguma’s side.
Rivers United will be expected to overcome neighbours Bayelsa United when both teams clash in Friday’s semi-final in Lagos, but the experienced tactician is not taking anything for granted, especially after the exploits of the Yenagoa-based side in the competition this year.
“It’s a very big stage,” he said. “And considering the fact that Bayelsa United have been in the Premier League (NPFL) before, they have all the experience that it takes, and again, they are doing well in the Pro League (NNL), we respect them, we don’t underrate them.
“You could remember in the past (November, 2020), we faced them in the final of the Gov. Wike Pre-Season tournament, and it was a difficult game.
“So, we know they are a good side, and we know it’s going to be a very strong game. A very interesting game too. A local derby like you said.
“But we are going to give account of ourselves irrespective of the fact that the team is a bit fatigued now. But I can assure that we are going to come out stronger for that match and see if we can take the day.”
To reach the semi-finals, the Pride of Rivers knocked out Sokoto United 2-1, overcame Heartland 3-1, before securing a 1-0 win against Niger Tornadoes in the quarter-finals.
The other semi-final match will be contested by Nasarawa United and Sunshine Stars in Asaba on Friday, with kick-off for both games billed for 3pm.