Ibrahim Musa, the Head Coach of Kano Pillars Football Club, on Sunday decried the “delay tactics style of football’’ deployed by Rivers United FC during their 1-2 defeat in Port Harcourt.
Musa told sports journalists after their Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) Match Day 21 fixture at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium that the host team players were “just falling on the pitch”.
He said while his team played with high intensity from the first to the last minute, their hosts were just playing negative football.
“If you observed our opponents very well, they were just falling and falling. We don’t believe in falling. We go out to play the ball, whether we will win, lose or draw,’’ the coach alleged.
He then urged the Rivers United technical crew to change their tactics “because this style is not good for Nigerian football.
“Delay tactics in the field of play is not a good strategy, because if you want to play at the continental level, you can’t get this kind of delay tactics of falling always.’’
Musa said his Kano Pillars FC team played very well and created chances but could not convert them.
“We had the chances but luck was not on our side. We need to work hard, if we must go far.
“We have to go back to the drawing board and work on our finishing. That is the problem,” he said.
The Kano Pillars coach however admitted that the host team were good, insisting nonetheless that they could not be compared with his club.
In his reaction, Rivers United’s Stanley Eguma disagreed with his Kano Pillars’ counterpart that delay tactics were deployed by the hosts.
“It was my team’s desire to go all out and get goals.’’
Eguma, who pointed out that every coach, player or fan must have his or her opinion about every game, said Musa’s opinion was wrong however.
He stated that football was a game of contact, and when a player fell, it would be left to the referee to take a decision.
“So, I disagree with my colleague (Musa) because it has been our desire to play an attacking game all through to get goals and we did that.
“That doesn’t mean that if you move forward, you will not fall back. Players must fall back to defend, because the game is all about defending and attacking,” Eguma said.
The Rivers United FC technical head insisted that his players defended because they were leading.
“What do you expect the players to do? The pressure was on our side, and the players returned to their half to defend.
“In the process, we committed an infringement which also gave them the goal through the free-kick.”
Eguma admitted also that the match was a tough one because Kano Pillars were a good side.
“So, when playing them, you have to prepare, and we prepared very well, and in today’s game, we played to instructions and because of the pressure, we got the first goal via a penalty kick.
“We had a good game plan, and Kano Pillars were within our reach, and we got the game,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that N’Gouan Konan scored for Rivers United via a penalty kick in the 20th minute, while Cletus Emotan scored in the 86th minute.
Rabiu Ali however scored for Kano Pillars in the second minute of second half added time through a stunning free-kick.