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Confed Cup: CAF Rejects Heartland’s Appeal

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Heartland Football Club has failed in its bid to overturn a decision awarding the Confederation Cup first-round tie to US Bitam on a walkover.

Heartland appealed to the Confederation of African Football (Caf) after Bitam were awarded the win because the Nigerian side were registered as “absent” at the time of kick-off for the second leg in Gabon.

Heartland, who were leading 2-1 from the first leg in Nigeria, claim they had difficulties travelling to Gabon for the fixture.

The Nigerian side only departed for the match on Saturday 6 April an hour before the game was due to kick off.

They claim visa and flight hitches forced them to leave Lagos late.

Heartland continued with their travel plans expecting the game to be played on Sunday in the interests of fairplay but say there was no one from the Gabon FA or US Bitam to greet when they arrived.

At the time, Heartland spokesman Cajetan Nkwopara said they hoped the walkover decision would be overturned by Caf.

Caf has confirmed that they have rejected that appeal.

“The Caf Inter-clubs Committee considered that the absence of the team from Nigeria was mainly the responsibility of the club Heartland, rather than a case of force majeure,” Caf has written on their website, citing article 16 of the competition regulations.

‘If for any reason whatsoever, a team withdraws from the competition or does not report for a match – except in case of force majeure accepted by the Organising Committee – or if it refuses to play or leaves the ground before the regular end of the match without the permission of the referee, it shall be considered loser and shall be eliminated from the competition,’ the statement goes on to add.

Heartland are therefore eliminated from the competition but Caf said the club will not face further sanctions.

US Bitam progress and will meet USM Algiers in the next round.

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NPFL : Eguma Urges Rivers People To Keep Faith

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The Technical Manager of Rivers United FC of Port Harcourt, Stanley Eguma, has called on Rivers State people to be faithful and support the team, saying that they would not let them down this Nigeria Professional Football League ( NPFL) season.
He said that, all the players in the team are hungry for success this season, adding that, he is planning with the players that have winning mentality.
Eguma said this on Sunday in his post match interview with sports journalists shortly after they saw off Kwara United with 3-0 in the match day six of the NPFL, at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt.
He appreciated his players for the victory, adding that initially the game was a bit difficult.
According to him, his players were more technical on the ball, pointing out that he had to change the tactics of the game.
“Rivers people should still have faith and support the team because we will not let them down this season.
The league is a marathon one; it is not yet time to sing songs.
It is still work in progress.
We started well but we still have hope that the team will improve more on their performance because every club in the league is very strong,” Eguma stated.
He noted that his team last season did not change but the approach and mentality of the players have changed the game.
He disclosed that the team is highly motivated and taking care of, saying, most of the players want to deliver and make name for themselves.

By: Kiadum Edookor

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Chukwu Blames Rohr For Not Developing NPFL Players

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Former Nigeria Super Eagles Captain Christian Chukwu, has blamed former National Coach Gernot Rohr for not developing the Nigeria Professional Football League ( NPFL) players.
He disclosed that Rohr was employed to build the NPFL players for them to get opportunity to play in European clubs rather than concentrating on foreign- based players.
Chukwu said this on Monday in a television programme monitored by Tidesports in Port Harcourt, adding that Rohr was supposed to base in Nigeria to enable him get in touch with the home base players.
According to him, Rohr failed for the development of the home-based- players, adding that, before now, all other coaches gave the home-based players the opportunity to showcase themselves in the national team.
Chukwu who had also coached the Super Eagles team, explained that Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) did not believe in Nigerian coaches, adding that, he is happy with what the interim coach, Austin Eguavoen is doing with the Super Eagles within the short period of time.
” Rohr was employed to develop our national players but he concentrated on foreign- based players.
We have players in the NPFL who are very good but they were not giving opportunity under Rohr to play in the national team.
All the players we have before now were home- based players”, Chukwu stated.

By: Kiadum Edookor

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Eguavoen To Effect Changes Against Guinea-Bissau

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Super Eagles interim coach, Augustine Eguavoen has revealed that he would be making some changes in the final group match against the Wild Dogs of Guinea-Bissau tomorrow so as to give players who have not tested action some game time.
Tidesports source reports that Nigeria currently tops Group D with six points from their opening two games, after beating Egypt and Sudan and are guaranteed a spot in the knockout stages of the competition.
“Obviously, we will make changes for the last group game against Guinea-Bissau.
“We have depth in the team and it’s a good opportunity for the other players to play, we will play to win the game and I trust the players to do a great job,” he said.
Eguavoen also warned his players against complacency and taking their chances in front of goal in subsequent matches.
“No game comes easy. We knew it was going to be tough and tried as much as possible to be ready for any opponent that comes our way.
“So it’s a little bit difficult to say whether we were complacent in the Sudan game or not but we will discuss this with the boys going forward,” he added.

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