NPFL champions Rivers United Football Club have been dealt a blow just hours before their second leg clash against Young Africans of Tanzania in the CAF Confederation Cup quarterfinals, Soccernet.ng understands.
The team bus was reportedly burgled in Dar es Salam, and valuables worth thousands of dollars were stolen.
The incident occurred while the team was completing their final training session ahead of the match. The team noticed that their bus had been broken into and sprayed with toxic chemicals, with a sum of $5,250 missing.
The experience understandably shook the Rivers United players and staff, and it remains to be seen how it will affect their performance on the pitch.
CAFCC: Rivers United FC Bus Burgled, Sprayed With Toxic Chemical— Rivers United FC (@RiversUnitedFC) April 29, 2023
Barely 24 hours to the kick-off of the #TotalEnergiesCAFCC quarter final 2nd leg tie in Dar es Salam, Rivers United’s team bus has been burgled and valuables worth thousands of dollars stolen. pic.twitter.com/sw8ZVHAnSn
On the scene to witness the incident were Ali Nwebe, the CAF General Coordinator from Uganda, and Jamil Bawalaggana Mpagi, the CAF Head of Security from the same country.
The officials confirmed that a toxic chemical had indeed been sprayed in the bus, adding to the distress of the Rivers United team.
In response to the incident, Rivers United have petitioned CAF and are now awaiting further action from the football governing body.
The Pride of Rivers while completing their final training session ahead of the clash against Young Africans of Tanzania noticed that their team bus has been broken into and sprayed with toxic chemicals and a sum of $5,250 is missing. pic.twitter.com/1Dh1IrxrsU— Rivers United FC (@RiversUnitedFC) April 29, 2023
Rivers United will need to regroup quickly as they face an uphill battle in the quarterfinals, having lost the first leg 2-0 to Young Africans. They will need to at least match that scoreline to stand any chance of progressing to the semifinals.
This incident, however, raises serious concerns about the safety of teams and their belongings when traveling to different countries for football matches.
CAF and other football governing bodies must take steps to ensure the safety and security of players and staff, both on and off the pitch.