Rivers United Football Club yesterday blew their chance of becoming N20m richer when they lost by a line goal to Enyimba F.C. of Aba in their first leg tie of the CAF Confederation Cup.
The Port Harcourt-based team went into the game with high plans of reaping huge rewards, especially as their Governor, Nyesome Wike had promised them the 20million cash gift, if they come out triumphant in Aba.
The match, which was played at the Enyimba Stadium in Aba, generated interest from football lovers across the country because of the rivalry between the two teams.
Prior to the game, Rivers United were in an optimistic mood to show Nigerians that they are the better side, claiming that they deserve to be playing in the champions league instead of Enyimba.
Fans from both the home and away sides had filled the stadium to the brim as early as 3.00 p.m.
The game was keenly contested because of its high stake as the deciding battle in their continental campaign.
The Guardian reported that the Fatai Osho-led Enyimba were reduced to ten men when Tosin Omoyele was given the marching orders but were still able to grind out a win.
Cyril Olisemah scored in the 59th minute, a goal which turned out to be the only one in the game thereby giving the former African Champions a good base going into the second leg.
In an interview after the game, Enyimba midfielder, Anthony Omaka, said the game was a very tough and difficult one, especially after it was halted for some time due to heavy rainfall.
“We knew before that it would not be an easy encounter against Rivers United,”
“This is a team that recruited some of our players like Theophilus Afelokai in their rank, but as a team, we were determined to get the victory.”
“I am happy that despite the red card, we didn’t capitulate and was able to see the game through till the end.”
Rivers United coach, Stanley Eguma, said his lads were the better players in the game and were only unlucky not to secure victory.