Rivers United coach Stanley Eguma has apologized to fans of the club after their shock defeat to Niger Tornadoes in the semi-final of the Nigerian FA Cup sponsored by AITEO, while attributing the loss to the waterlogged Agege Stadium pitch.
After eliminating favourites Akwa United and Lobi Stars in the previous rounds, the Pride of Rivers were on Thursday surprisingly beaten 2-1 by the Ikon Allah boys, who were relegated to the second-tier Nigeria National League.
“It’s quite unfortunate we lost at this crucial stage of the competition, it was not expected because we have prepared very well and we are doing well all this while,” Eguma said in an interview with a radio station in Port Harcourt monitored by busybuddiesng.com.
“We came out strongly to play but unfortunately, I think the waterlogged pitch did not allow us play our game. The waterlogged pitch affected our game.
“But first and foremost, I will say we are sorry because we have raised the hope of so many people; our fans and the people of Rivers State, but unfortunately, we could not cross to the final. I will say that we are sorry for that, and it’s unfortunate. We did our best but we couldn’t get the victory.”
A win for Rivers United would have guaranteed them a CAF Confederation Cup ticket next season as eventual Aiteo Cup finalist; Kano Pillars had secured a Champions League place next term following their second-place finish at the Nigeria Professional Football League Championships playoffs.