Rivers United players Festus Austin, Nelson Esor, and Lookman Binuyo have all expressed confidence in their chances of defeating Egyptian side Al Masry and reaching the group stage of the CAF Confederation Cup this season.
The Pride of Rivers host the former Egyptian Cup champions in their adopted home in Aba on Sunday in the first leg of their CAF Confederation Cup playoff clash, with the reverse fixture in Egypt a week later. Aggregate winners of the tie advance to the money-spinning group phase of the competition.
Long-standing captain Austin says Rivers United are ready to put smiles on the faces of their fans on Sunday with victory over the Egyptian outfit.
“On Sunday, it’s going to be a crack game (against Al Masry) and we at Rivers United know how important the game is,” he said. “And we don’t have to keep any stone unturned.
“We just have to go all out and make all Nigerians and the good people of Rivers State happy. Our sports-loving Governor (Nyesom Wike), we just have to make him happy. We just have to be in the group stage.”
On his part, former Go Round FC skipper Esor described Sunday’s clash as a ‘must-win’ for his side.
“Presently, the spirit is very high (in camp),” the attacking midfielder said. “After we went out from the CAF Champions League, the boys were disappointed, we have stopped beating ourselves.
“And we decided to make this match a must-win and a must-qualification match to the group stage, and we are not keeping any stone unturned. We are making sure that come on Sunday, we’ll get the maximum victory, because we believe we’ll get the victory here. And going over to Egypt will be a formality.
“We’ll put everything in our best way, and we believe come that day, His grace will be made sufficient for us. We’ll be triumphant over Al Masry of Egypt.”
Meanwhile, defensive midfielder Binuyo says the team’s prime target remains to reach the group stage, adding that they will ‘come all out’ against the Egyptians.
“The game is very important to us and we are hoping to qualify to the group stage,” he stated. “This is our number one assignment. And we do not have any excuse.
“We want to be in the group stage, and come on Sunday, we are coming all out for us to secure the game here before going to Egypt.”
Last season, Stanley Eguma’s side were knocked out at this stage of the competition by local rivals Enyimba via penalties.