‘Rivers Angels embarrassed Nigeria at CAF Champions League’
Former defender of Nigerian U-20 female team, Falconets, Blessing Akusobi, has described Rivers Angels poor campaign at the maiden CAF Women’s Champions League in Egypt as big embarrassment to the country.
Rivers Angels, Nigeria’s sole representative in the competition, fell again on Tuesday, losing their second Group B match 1-0 to South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns. The Nigerian team, which is the oldest club side among those featuring at the maiden CAF Champions League, earlier suffered heavy defeat, 3-0 to ASFAR FC of Morocco in their opening group match on Saturday.
Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, Akusobi, who still shows signs of injury she suffered playing for the Falconets at the 2006 U-20 Women’s World Cup in Russia, said Rivers Angels poor performance in Egypt is bad for the Nigerian women football league.
“In our playing days, there was nothing like the CAF Champions League, and I felt Rivers Angels will easily dominate it in Egypt as the champions of Nigeria. My thinking is that the Nigerian women’s League is stronger than what is on ground in Morocco. I can’t believe that a Moroccan team could disgrace Rivers Angels in such a way. Losing 3-0 to the Moroccan team and I-0 to Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa on Tuesday was a big embarrassment to Nigerian football as far as I am concerned,” Akusobi stated.
Akusobi had her ligaments torn in the quarterfinal clash against Brazil in Moscow after a Brazilian player landed on her left leg following an aerial contest.
The former defender attributed Rivers Angels defeat in Egypt to several factors, including poor organisation of the Nigeria women football league. “This means the standard of our league has fallen so low,” she stated.
Rivers Angels, led by newly appointed Super Falcons assistant coach, Edwin Okon, went into Tuesday’s Group B match needing a win to raise hope of progressing to the semifinals of the continental women league. But they fell to the South Africans first half goal.
Meanwhile, ASFAR FC of Morocco, who thrashed Rivers Angels 3-0 in their first match, were beaten 2-0 by Vihiga Queens of Kenya on Tuesday in the other group B match.
The victory has thrown Group B wide open as both ASFAR and Vihiga have three points each and they both must win their last group matches to sail through.
Rivers Angels will face the Kenyan giants, Vihiga Queens, tomorrow, while Mamelodi Sundowns, who beat Vihiga 1-0 in the opening match take on ASFAR of Morocco.
Rivers Angels need to do the unthinkable by beating Vihiga Queens by at least six goals without conceding hoping that Sundowns will do them a favour by beating Vihiga Queens to have the hope of remaining in the competition.
Mamelodi Sundowns have qualified for the semi-finals with six point from two matches. They need only a draw tomorrow to confirm their top position on the log.