Rivers United boss Stanley Eguma is buoyed by the improving bond between his players and believes it will be vital in seeing off the challenge of “wounded lions” Bloemfontein Celtic in Saturday’s Confederation Cup, second leg, first round tie at the Charles de Gaulle Stadium, Porto-Novo, Benin Republic.
Eguma’s side lead 2-0 from the first leg in South Africa but will play the return fixture in Benin Republic with the permission of CAF after Nigerian health authorities declined to issue a waiver for Celtic to bypass local Covid-19 protocols for international visitors leading to the cancellation of the fixture originally scheduled for 6 January 2021 in Port Harcourt.
And despite enjoying a healthy lead, Eguma is adamant there won’t be any complacency from his players who he says understand the importance of securing progress to the final qualifying round and have increased their “level of cooperation” as a result.
“The players level of cooperation is high, they know the importance of winning this game irrespective of the fact that we won the first lag encounter. The second leg is very crucial because it will determine the overall position,” the long-serving Rivers United manager said.
A win for Rivers United also guarantees a Nigerian team will be in the group stage with Enyimba waiting in the wings and former Enyimba assistant boss Eguma believes its more reason why his team must prevail against Bloemfontein Celtic.
“The pride of Nigeria is at stake. It’s very very important that we give our best, because it’s only our best that can take us to the next level,” he said.
“Our opponents are also coming like a wounded Lions, we expect a very through battle.”
Rivers United vs Bloemfontein Celtic (Agg 2-0)
Date: Saturday 23rd January 2021
Venue: Charles de Gaulle Stadium, Porto-Novo, Benin Republic