|Awoba Stars celebrate a goal in the tournament|
Coach of Rivers United Football Academy, Sunny Iseokwehma says he is not happy with the display put up by his young side so far at the Brown Ideye Challenge.
Rivers United Academy lost their second group game of the tournament when they fell 2:0 to Garden City Panthers on Monday.
A goal in each half by the Panthers meant the Rivers State sponsored Academy would need everything to go their way in the last two games, if it is to qualify from Group C.
The Rivers United Football Academy is made up of youngsters trying to break into the senior Rivers United side and Coach Iseokwehma says he is surprised that the talent he knows is possessed by his players have not so far been displayed at the tournament.
“I am not happy. Not unhappy because I am losing but because the boys are not playing to their potential. That is where I am feeling so bad. I am so disappointed that is why I cannot talk to them at the moment because I know they can do more than what they are doing,” Iseokwehma said.
Asked what he thought the reason must be for his side being yet to find their rhythm, Iseokwehma says one of the possibility could be the playing turf which cannot be compared to the synthetic turf at the Sharks Stadium where his boys train.
“I don’t know if the field as well is giving them problems but like I told them after the first match, in Nigeria you might not play every match in a Sharks kind of stadium so you should also expect things like this. So if you are expecting to become the best player possible, you shouldn’t have to select the pitch you play but be able to play on any pitch.”
The Rivers Utd Academy boss is however of the opinion that even if his team fails to make it to the knockout stages he has succeeded in exposing the boys to the rigors of a competitive atmosphere which he beliefs is indeed beneficial to the lads.
“First and foremost why this competition is good for me is that it is like a student who reads every day and is not writing exams and If you are not writing exams, then you are not being assessed and if so, you will not know your progress. Opportunities and competitions like this will expose players to match rigors. There is a difference between training and training without playing in competitions. So if not any other thing, this competition has helped expose players that are under me.”
Monday’s other game saw Fountain FC walk over Jike Stars who failed to turn up for their 2pm schedule. Fountain FC were thus awarded 3 points and 3 goals.
Tuesday will see action in Group D where Police Machine FC will play Port Harcourt City by 2pm and Benedi FC engages MCW Jeff soccer Academy by 4pm.
TEAM P W D L GS GA AG PTS
A S SKE 2 2 0 0 4 0 4 6
Fountain 2 2 0 0 4 0 4 6
Panthers 3 2 0 1 9 1 8 6
R U F A 2 0 0 2 0 3 -3 0
Jike 3 0 0 3 0 13 -13 0
Jike Stars 0-3 Fountain w/o
Garden City Panthers 2-0 Rivers United Academy (Ikechukwu Nwafor 27', Kenneth Bassey 56')
Jike Stars 0-7 Garden City Panthers
Academy Soccer SKE 1-0 Rivers United Academy
Jike stars 0-3 Academy Soccer SKE
Garden City Panthers 0-1 Fountain FC