Having played two matches already in the group stage of the competition, the reigning champions of Nigeria are yet to pocket a single point and this is no doubt causing the club’s teeming supporters anxious moments.
Their opponents this weekend would be coming into the match with a better record. Primeiro de Agosta after securing a vital goalless away draw against highly rated Stade Malien in Bamako returned home to pick the maximum points against Egypt’s Haras El Hodoud to pocket three vital points.
The home defeat against Stade Malien did much to reduce to the barest minimum the confidence of the Bayelsa State team but the motivation for the club now appears to be the domestic Super Cup trophy which it won recently at the expense of Federation Cup winners, Enyimba FC of Aba. The victory over the two time African champions is a clear indication that the Yenagoa based club has not lost touch completely with victory.
The rediscovery is what may propel the club to go for its first win in the group stage. Although Bayelsa United’s sagging morale may have been reinvigorated but considering the impressive run of their opponents so far at this stage of the competition, it will not be wrong to say United will be in for a hard time. To redeem their title ambition, they must win this weekend against Primeiro de Agosta.
Captain Kola Awe insists the victory over Enyimba puts them in good stead to claim their maiden maximum points in the second tier continental club championship.
“The Enyimba match has really helped to build our confidence back; since then, the spirit of the guys has been high in camp. Our efforts are now geared towards the Confederation Cup and the next four games are our priority.”
On his part, Coach of the team, Monday Odigie who doubles as Golden Eaglets assistant coach told Trustsports that the 1-2 defeat suffered at home in the hands of Stade Malien is not enough for the club to be dismissed with a wave of the hand.
“I have not been with the club but I am going to be with the technical crew as we prepare to take on our opponents. Although we lost our last match home, we have been able to identify some of the factors that were responsible for that result. All I can tell you is that we want to continue in the competition and the only way to achieve that is to win this match.
“We would work on the psyche of the players to let them understand that it is not over yet. One defeat should not be enough reason for us to give up the struggle. It is our fervent prayer that the players will remain in shape for the crucial encounter” he stated.
Obviously aware of the consequence of another defeat at home, Bayelsa United will like to record its first win at this stage but such redemption cannot be gotten on a platter of gold. It will take some extra ordinary efforts to remain in contention, especially at a time when morale in the team seems to be at its lowest ebb.