Usman Abdullah, coach of Enyimba, has blamed his team’s 0-1 loss to visiting Raja Casablanca of Morocco on fatigue.
Abdullah said this during a post-match press briefing held at Enyimba International Stadium in Aba.
He said his team played five matches in 10 days, which affected their performance and quality of play.
“NFF should have protected us because we are the only team in Nigeria playing the African cup matches. Now they have seen what had happened,” he said.
“Going to Gombe is a two-day trip. We played a match on Sunday and left in the morning. We only arrived Gombe the next day, Tuesday, and on Wednesday, we played a game against one of the toughest clubs in Nigeria.
“On Saturday morning, we had to leave and on our arrival in Aba on Sunday, we had only one day left to train and to play.
“I think the NFF should have protected us and granted some privilege but they did not; we have learnt our lessons.”
He said his team has not lost hope of advancing in the game because the match in Aba was just the first leg of their encounter with Raja Casablanca.
“It is far from being over because this is the first part of the match and now we are familiar with our opponent,” he said.
“We played them without knowing them but having known them now, we would have to go to the drawing board and do some work.”
Juan Carlos Garrido, Raja Casablanca coach, said the match was tough but “we worked hard, knowing our opponent and our players played the match respecting the quality of Enyimba and their game.
“For us, the motivation was very high because they (players) knew the match demanded everything”.