The Media Officer of Plateau United, Albert Dakup, on Monday said the club resisted the overtures by the USM Algiers officials to alter the kick-off of the CAF Confederation Cup scheduled for Tuesday.
Dakup made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria while giving updates on the team’s preparation for the second leg of the play-off of the competition.
The Nigerian representative at the CAF Confederation Cup are due to face their Algerian counterparts in the second leg after securing a 2-1 victory in the first leg played at the Agege Stadium, Lagos.
The reigning Nigeria Professional Football League champions Plateau United had a hectic travelling schedule after flying over 16 hours to Algerian capital.
Dakup said that though the team experienced difficulty during their trip to Algeria with a stopover in Spain, he said this would not deter them from having a good result.
He said: “We had an emergency stopover in Spain together with the passengers on the Emirate flight from Dubai after the pilot announced that he could not risk the life of his passengers due to poor weather.
“This development forced us to wait for close to an hour in the Spanish town before continuing with the journey after receiving a communication that the weather is safe for conducive flying.
“When we got to Algiers, we were received by some staff of the Nigerian Embassy, officials of the Algerian Football Federation and some officials of USM Algiers.
“After a well-deserved rest, we were able to train for one hour plus at the USMA stadium in Algiers; I think we are ready to go all out for this game.’’
Dakup claimed that the team was accosted by two officials of USM Algiers with the purpose of changing the kick-off time but that was rejected by the club.
He said: “While we are training at the USMA stadium, two officials of USM Algiers accosted Plateau United Team Manager, and an NFF official who accompanied the team trying to convince them to change the kick-off time.
“The move was, however, rejected by the team because investigation shows that the host are not comfortable with the timing which is not favourable to them.
“The reason is that the weather won’t be to their advantage claiming that 6 p.m. may not be cold enough to their advantage.
“The officials of USM Algiers gave a flimsy excuse that most of their fans may be denied of watching the game at the kick-off time because of heavy traffic during the kick-off.”
Dakup said the team would be without the defender Junior Salomon who was suspended after a second bookable offence in the first leg but that they would cope with his absence.
He said: “Our coach is upbeat about our chances and he had directed that the team must focus on their mission in Algeria to take their chances in front of goals.
“He specifically challenged top striker, Tosin Omoyele, to be more alert in front of goal. However, our goalkeepers Okiemute Odah and Dele Ajiboye are very sharp.
“Our defender, Salomon who got his second booking during the first leg, won’t be available. The Benin international is the mainstay of the defence and will be solely missed for his experience.
“But we have a good news that all our midfielders are all available, including those that missed in the match against Etoile Du Sahel of Tunisia.”