Nigeria’s representatives in this year’s CAF Champions League, Dolphins FC of Port Harcourt, and Sunshine Stars of Akure risk early exit from the competition as both teams failed to get favourbale results in their first leg games played on Sunday.
While Dolphins could only manage a slim 2-1 win in Port Hacourt against Cotton Sports Garoua, Sunshine Stars, were torn apart 4-1 by their host Recrativo de Libolo of Angola.
Dolphins, who are the reigning Nigerian league champions, could be shown the exit door if they lose even by as little as a lone goal in the reverse fixture billed for Yaounde in a fortnight.
The task is even much harder for Sunshine as they have to beat their Angolan opponent by at least a 3-goal margin when they play in Ijebu Ode.
For some football fans, Dolphins players were not in proper condition for the important game as they were so much agitation in the camp; the height being friday’s boycott of training to protest unpaid accumulated allowances
The players had actually threatened to boycott Sunday’s game before being appealed to by the Rivers State sports commissioner, Fred Igwe.
Premium Times investigations reveals that the players are being owed about 29 match bonuses.
At least 25 match bonuses from last season are still unpaid, while four matches are yet to be paid this season
“Some of us have families who depend on us and others are bread winners in their families. So you can imagine the pains they are putting people through. Not even a dime has been paid as signing-on fees to us this season and they want us to continue to play thank you football. We were told on two occasions by the (Rivers State) sports commissioner that our match bonuses are ready and will be paid to us but till date nothing of such has happened,” said one of the players, who wants to remain anonymous.