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Eguma: El-Merreikh’s Nigerian Trio No Threat To Rivers United

Eguma: El-Merreikh’s Nigerian Trio No Threat To Rivers United

Rivers United coach Stanley Eguma says the presence of Nigerian-born Kunle Odunlami and Kelechi Osunwa will not be to Sudan's El-Merreikh's advantage in Sunday's CAF Champions League first leg, first round tie in Port Harcourt.

Aside from Odunlami and Osunwa, El-Merreikh are also expected to parade former Sunshine Stars player Dayo Ojo for Sunday's game.

Odunlami played for Sunshine Stars, while Osunwa featured for Dolphins.

"This looked like a bit of advantage to them because Kelechi (Osunwa) knows Rivers United very well having played successfully with us here in Port Harcourt before he moved abroad," Eguma told cafonline.

"He knows our mentality so well but all that we count for nothing because we are talking about the team and not individuals. 

"This is a game of football and we just have to put our own acts together."

Eguma stated that his team will have to be spot on in their tactics to over come El-Merreikh, while playing down talk of hosting the first leg.

He said: "We know that El Merriekh is a very big team as far as Sudanese football is concerned and are one of the oldest clubs from that region.

"They have always been a fixture in the continental club championship and are a team with pedigree and we must respect them.

"We are working very hard to ensure that we go past them. We are working tirelessly so that the players would be in the right frame of mind.

"On the game proper, we must ensure that we get our tactics right because this is a different ball game because we are meeting a team with different style, orientation and mentality as against what we are used to on the domestic scene."

"We don’t have to worry over the fixtures. It is our resolve to win both at home and when we travel away for the second leg.

"Football has gone beyond playing at home or away first; it is our responsibility to go out there and give our best performance over the two legs.

"I believe we are cable of winning both matches. We must be prepared for the two legs as if it’s the final because if we want to be champions of Africa, we must be ready to surmount all oppositions."

And on the issue of facing a very experienced El-Merreikh side and Rivers United's recent goal drought, Eguma said: "It is on record that despite their past showings in the continental championship; El Merreikh has yet to win neither the CAF Champions League nor the CAF Confederation Cup.

"Our objective is to play them form in order to eliminate them from the competition. We respect their records but we are not afraid about playing against them.

"This is not a problem peculiar to Rivers United( goal drought). Most of the clubs in the Nigerian top flight are going through same because you can hardly find some free-scoring strikers as we used to have them in the past.

"However, this is something we are working on and you can see that we had a high goal-margin win against As Real of Bamako when we beat them here 4-0.

"I believe we have the players to execute this assignment; part of my job is to ensure that we sharpen the attackers so that they can deliver for the team."

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