Rivers United coach Stanley Eguma has decried the irregular calendar of the Nigeria Professional league (NPFL), saying it has adverse effects on his club’s preparations for the forthcoming CAF Champions League.
Eguma’s side will face Tanzania outfit Young Africans in the preliminary round of the CAF Champions League in September, just a month after finishing second in the NPFL last season.
However, with uncertainty surrounding the commencement of the 2021/22 NPFL season, Rivers United and the other Nigerian clubs on the continent will have to look for matches elsewhere to prepare them for action in the CAF inter-club competitions.
Eguma says the situation where the CAF Inter-club competitions start before the NPFL, which has lingered for over seven years, makes it extremely difficult for Nigerian clubs to succeed on the continent.
“That is exactly the major problem of our league – our bane in the continent, because if you don’t prepare, you cannot succeed,” the long-serving tactician said. “There’s no magic. You can never succeed.
“The North Africans are always preparing better than us, and they are getting the desired results.
“Our calendar is so bad that it does not even allow us the time to re-appraise the performance of our team and then forge ahead to prepare for the next season, correct the mistakes of the past season. We do not have time for that.
“We just finished our season some few days ago, now we are going to the continent. It is not possible! Even the new players that are going to join the team, they’ve not even understood..…
“No time for pre-season. That is the problem. Until we correct our calendar, there is no Nigerian team that can go anywhere (on the continent). It is not magic. Football is not mathematics.
He added: “So, we must do the right things, put the right things on ground to succeed.
“So, that has been our problem, the coaches do not even have time to work on the team, to prepare.
“All our preparations, we cannot do. All our plans, our pre-season preparations we cannot carry them out because there is not time.”