BY SAB OSUJI
Stanley Eguma, Technical Manager of Rivers United, has revealed that ‘character’ and ‘tactical discipline’ were the two basic ingredients that earned his side victory in Sunday’s CAF Confederation Cup Group B Matchday Three fixture against DC Motema Pembe in Luanda, Angola, Exclusivenews.com.ng reports.
Ghanaian midfielder, Paul Acquah, found the back of the Motema Pembe net eight minutes after the break, bundling the ball home after the home team’s goalkeeper failed to properly deal with his (Acquah’s) initial effort.
The Pride of Rivers had earlier in the first period been reduced to 10 men after Super Eagles defender, Ebube Duru, was sent off, following a second yellow card booking.
And the Nigerians endured a torrid wave of raids by their hosts thereafter with the backline tightly screwing their heads unto their necks, cutting every blade of the grass, defending stoutly for a famous 1-0 win that ultimately catapulted them to the summit of Group B standings with six points heading into the reverse fixture at Nest of Champions, Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo.
And on arrival at Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, Tuesday morning, a delighted Eguma, who is fondly called Capelo, by his admirers, admitted victory wasn’t plucked on the parks of Luanda.
He admitted that his team was matching the throttle cables right from the off but that things changed moments after his defender, Duru, was red-carded.
Winner of the prestigious CAF Champions League in 2004 with Enyimba in the capacity of Chief Coach with Okey Emordi as Technical Adviser, Eguma disclosed that The Pride of Rivers fell back on their ‘character’ and ‘discipline’ to grind out the famous win despite their numerical disadvantage.
“We went to Luanda with the mindset to win because we needed the maximum points to in order for us to actualize the first part of our objective in the tournament which is to qualify from the group for the knock out stages”, informs Eguma humbly.
“Right from the kick off, the game was going according to our dictate and match plans.
“By the dynamics and flow of the game changed after our defender, (Ebube) Duru, was sent off.
“But we refused to drop our head and momentum. I must say that the players demonstrated a high level of ‘character’ and ‘tactical discipline’ and it helped us.
“It’s not easy playing with 10 men in competition of this nature and an away match for that matter and you come out on top. I must commend the players for their resilience, composure, discipline, organisation and fighting spirit”.
Eguma further hinted that playing with 10 men is part of their training schedule, hence the players were able to cope in the gritty battle of Luanda.
“Sometimes during our training sessions we practice with one man down in case a situation like this arises during a match. so that we will be able to cope.
“I think that also helped us during the Motema Pembe match”.
“They gave their all even though the game almost sapped them up. Their mental strength, courage and dexterity also helped”
Eguma would equally sound loud and clear that Rivers United are not yet a finished product.
Hea added that they are still growing with both the domestic and continental competitions, reckoning that both challenges will make them better soon.
“At the moment, I must say that we’re showing some character in both the league and the CAF Confederation Cup.
“And I must as well think we are growing with the competition, I mean both in the domestic league and on the continent.
“Hopefully, in a matter of time, we will become a better team”.