Former Nigeria Under 23 player and Al-Merrikh striker, Kelechi Collins Osunwa has blamed Rivers United’s ouster in the CAF Champions League on complacency against on Saturday.
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Rivers United lost 0-4 in Omdurman, Sudan after winning 3-0 in Port Harcourt and were eliminated on aggregate, 4-3.
The former Dolphins player, 32, also advised the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) side to “try not to relax” when blessed with an advantage going into a second leg fixture.
“Next time, they (Rivers United) should try not to relax when they have a 3-0 first leg advantage,” Osunwa said.
“They must also work hard in the second leg. Those were the major lapses I noticed in the Rivers United side and they fell (in Omdurman).
“This is football where you cannot predict what can happen in 90 minutes.
“The coach was so upset about the first game in Port Harcourt.
“(But) he also knew that we (the players) were really tired before the game. We (simultaneously) play in the Arab Champions League, the Caf Champions League plus the domestic league and Cup.
“We were so tired during that first leg in Port Harcourt and that fatigue was the reason why we lost the game.
“We were so prepared for the (second) game against Rivers United knowing that in the past (2007), we had also beaten (another Nigerian club), Dolphins 6-1.
“We were hopeful that we could qualify in our home”.
Another Nigerian player, who formerly was with Sunshine Stars FC, Dayo Ojo said: “We believed we could do it because we spoke to ourselves and decided that if Rivers United could score three goals (in Port Harcourt), we could (also) score four goals at home.
“I thank God that we did it. The pressure was on us in Port Harcourt but it was the opposite in Omdurman.
“We destabilized their game plan.
“Nigerian football fans must learn from Al-Merrikh in the area of supporting their teams.
“The support we got from our fans against Rivers United (in Omdurman) was very very good and that is how we see it every day in domestic and continental matches.
“The fans must continue to support the teams whether they are doing well or not”.