Rivers United coach Stanley Eguma says playing three matches in a week in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) and the Aiteo Cup is taking a toll on his team, following their 2-1 win against Warri Wolves in Port Harcourt on Sunday.
Winger Godwin Aguda scored a brace either side of halftime to render Emmanuel Ihezuo’s 4th-minute opener for Wolves a mere consolation, as Eguma’s men claimed all three points, and moved to 3rd spot on the NPFL standings, with 55 points from 32 matches.
The Pride of Rivers have played five matches in the last 14 days, including a 2-1 win against Sokoto United in Lafia in the Aiteo Cup Round of 32. They are also billed to face Heartland in an Aiteo Cup last 16 tie in Aba on Wednesday, before returning to Port Harcourt to face league leaders Akwa United on Sunday.
Speaking after his side’s hard-fought win against relegation-threatened Warri Wolves, the long-serving tactician said the fixture congestion affected his team’s performance in the encounter, but however, added that he would rotate the squad to adjust to the inevitable situation.
“You could see that our performance today (Sunday) was just average,” he said, after the win against Wolves. “I think that it was as a result of the journeys we made within this week. It was very difficult, and I believe that we played under fatigue today (Sunday).
“But you know the fixtures have put it that way. We’ll try and make adjustments in our selection and ensure that we work against fatigue. If not, it won’t be good for us, because the fixtures are very congested – the Aiteo Cup and the league.
“After every 48 hours, we are playing a game. And not only playing a game but making very long distant journeys. The wear and tear of those journeys affect the players and affect their performance. And it also affects the results.”