Bayelsa United FC of Yenagoa and Nigeria’s reaprentative in the CAF Confederation Cup were expected to reenact a Leicester City magic on Saturday, but they crashed out of the competition after 4-0 hammering by CS Sfaxien of Tunisia in the second round second leg fixture.
The Nigerian National League side had won the first leg 1-0 courtesy of Victory Beniangba’s 55th-minute effort at the Samson Siasia Stadium in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital.
Inversely, at the Stade Taieb Mhiri Stadium in Sfax, Diepreye Teibowei’s men were hit for four as their ambitions faded into thin air.
Juventus of the Arabs as the host are fondly called, needed only 40 minutes to complete the demolition of Nigeria’s Bayelsa; they took the lead in the 11th minute as Chris Kouakou capitalised on horrendous defending to fire past goalkeeper John Shaibu.
Six minutes later, Mohamed Ben Ali doubled the advantage as the Nigerian side struggled to get hold of possession.
In the goal-laden first half, Aymen Harzi made it three for Giovanni Solinas’s men in the 27th minute before Fares Chawat completed the rout five minutes before the half-time break.
“Maximum respect” to Bayelsa United who put up an improved performance in the second half of the game, but they were unable to get the goals needed as they bowed 4-1 on aggregate – the end of the road.
Build up to the showdown in Tunisia, coach Teibowei had expected his team to put up an improved showing after missing numerous scoring opportunities in the reverse fixture.
“Actually, I will not say I’m disappointed, but it was not my expectation, because we are playing against an experienced side,” he told the media.
“My expectation was, at least, if we are able to win with a wide margin, going back to play them in Tunis will be a formality.
“But now, I’m not saying that we are not going to go there and get the desired result. If they can come here and play us this way, we can equally go there and play them the same way.
“For Bayelsa United, we have played home, we have won 1-0, we’ve been able to see the so-called CS Sfaxien that people thought were invincible.”
For goalkeeper Shaibu, he claimed his team can take inspiration from Leicester City’s Premier League heroics and claim CAR Confederation Cup glory.
“Football is all about time and opportunity. Nobody gave us a chance in the first place to win the Aiteo Cup, yet we achieved that by defeating a top-flight team,” he told Goal.
“Now that we have this chance, we are looking forward to representing Nigeria well and we are not just going to make up the numbers of participating teams.
“We have already commenced preparations for our campaign and with our youthful squad, we can do a Leicester City.
“We are drawing inspiration from them because no one gave them a chance to win the Premier League many seasons ago.
“Whether people call us underdogs or write us off, we don’t care. Our duty is to get on to the field of play and get the job done.”