Rivers United coach Stanley Eguma has labelled his side’s CAF Confederation Cup playoff fixture against 2-time African champions Enyimba as a ‘big cracker’, adding that the tie can go either way.
Dangerman Godwin Aguda grabbed a brace and Fortune Omoniwari also scored, as the Pride of Rivers secured a comfortable passage to the playoffs with a ruthless 3-0 victory against South African side Bloemfontein Celtic in Port Novo, Benin Republic on Saturday to complete a 5-0 aggregate win against the Siwelele.
The win sets up a blockbuster showdown against domestic rivals Enyimba for a place in the group stages of the competition, with the first leg in Aba on 14 February and the second leg a week later in Port Harcourt.
“Our game against Enyimba, I see it as a game of known foes,” Eguma said. “Enyimba is a Nigerian side, likewise Rivers United, and we are very closed-door neighbors. It is a rival team; rival opponent.
“We know each other very well. We have been playing in the league, and now that we are going to face them on the continent, I think it is going to be a big cracker. It’s a continental derby.
“Anytime you hear derby anywhere in the world, it’s always a cracker, and I see that as a cracker, because of what is involved, the CAF (Confederation Cup) group ticket. If not, I think it would have been a brotherly game we should have played so that both of us can qualify.
“But for the fact that only one team must qualify amongst two of us, that will make it a very big cracker.”
Despite the experience and pedigree of the 2018 semi-finalists Enyimba on the continent, Eguma stated that his Rivers United side, who reached the final of the CAF Confederation Cup in 2005, then as Dolphins, are determined to eliminate the 8-time Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) champions, adding that Fatai Osho’s side won’t be underrated
“We are not underrating them, Enyimba have a lot of experience in the continent,” Eguma, who was the assistant head coach of Enyimba when they won the CAF Champions League in 2004, noted.
“I will not mince words to say that Enyimba have been there for a long time and they understand the terrain very, very, very much than us. But the thing is that we in Rivers United, we are more than determined to succeed.
“The players, the management and the sponsors have set a target, and I think that it will be difficult for us to derail because we are all working round the clock to ensure that we succeed. And that will be the obstacle Enyimba is going to meet.
“But I feel that it is a game that can go either side. So, Rivers United Football Club is prepared,” the former Gabros coach concluded.