Rivers United captain, Festus Austine says Malian club, AS Real Bamako have a good chance of progressing to the first round of the 2017 Caf Champions League (CCL) despite Saturday’s 0-0 draw between both sides in Bamako.
Rivers United dominated for large stretches in the stalemate at the Estadio Modibo Keita in the first leg of the preliminary round CCL clash.
Austine says drawing 0-0 away from home in the first leg is not a bad result but also described it as a ‘very dangerous situation’.
“We did well not to concede but this is a very dangerous situation because if they score once in the return leg, we will have to score twice at least (to progress).
“AS Real Bamako is a good team and they proved it on Saturday.
“We are also a very good side and I want to assure Nigerians that we will qualify for the first round by beating AS Real Bamako at home,” he told the club’s official website, www.riversunited.com.ng.
Saturday’s game was watched by chargé d’affaires, Embassy of Nigeria (Bamako), Yara Abdulsalam and he took the time to voice his sentiments on the high stakes encounter.
“Rivers United had more possession than AS Real Bamako and it’s just for us to go for the goals in Port Harcourt.
“If (United) could play this well in Bamako, I think they will win in the return leg in Port Harcourt,” he said.
On his part, Rivers State Sports Commissioner, Boma Iyaye identified consistent motivation of the players by the sponsor as one of the main reasons for their positive display on Saturday.
“Our secret is very simple – motivate the players! When you motivate the players, you will get whatever you want from them.
“The welfare of the players is most paramount for us as (sponsor of the football club).
“Their salaries and other entitlements are paid as at when due and the results are clear for all to see,” he said.
The national President of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Honour Sirawoo who was also in Bamako to watch the game spoke afterwards.
“It was a great game but we just need to build on the attack and I am sure we will do that in Port Harcourt.
“From what we saw on Saturday, it is clear that Nigeria has great potential to do well in this competition.
“We have been preaching the collective. Government, the participators and sports writers have begun to work together and with that, I am sure we will go further,” he said.
Rivers United will host the Malians in the return leg in Port Harcourt next weekend.