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Rivers United stands firm amid CAF CC kickoff time controversy vs USM Alger

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By Oyediji Oluwaseun Babatunde

Amidst a flurry of scheduling controversy, Rivers United Football Club has made their position clear regarding the kickoff time for their upcoming clash with Algerian side, USM Alger, in the CAF Confederation Cup quarter-final first leg.

The confusion stems from USM Alger’s successful appeal to the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to change the kickoff time from the initially scheduled 5:00 pm to 2:00 pm.

USM Alger cited concerns over their players’ ability to perform optimally due to Ramadan fasting and the sweltering midday heat.

However, Rivers United has swiftly moved to dismiss rumors of a 5:00 pm kickoff time, asserting that they have not received official confirmation from CAF regarding any change.

During a pre-match meeting today, Rivers United reconfirmed the kickoff time as 2:00 pm, standing firm in their commitment to the original schedule.

“We don’t have any correspondence to this effect from Caf,” a source at Rivers United exclusively told Nigeriafootball.ng.

“The pre match meeting held today with the time kept at 2pm. We already told caf that the stadium is hired. If they try anything funny, we won’t play.

“USM fixed the reverse tie by 10pm as against the usual time that they play. We have players that are fasting in our team.”

The decision to alter the kickoff time has raised eyebrows, with some speculating that it may have been at the request of the home team, USM Alger.

Traditionally, North African teams prefer evening matches under floodlights, regardless of the Ramadan season.

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With the match scheduled to take place on Sunday, March 31, 2024, at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, tensions are running high as both teams prepare to face off in this highly anticipated encounter.

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