September 18, (THEWILL) – A day before the reverse fixture of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League game between Rivers United FC and Young Africans of Tanzania, four players of the Nigerian club are still held up in Tanzania since their first leg a week ago.
The situation got to a head on Friday when Rivers United directly accused the Tanzanian government of holding these four players hostage ahead of the September 19 second leg match.
Charles Mayuku, the Rivers United media officer, in a statement issued in Port Harcourt on Friday, claimed all this was happening even though all four players tested negative for COVID-19.
Mayuku recalled how six members of the Rivers United were said to have tested positive for COVID-19, barely two hours to the kick-off of the first leg on September 12.
Mayuku also said the players and officials left behind in Tanzania had undergone COVID-19 tests twice since September 13.
The statement read, in part: “But we have observed hesitancy in the release of the results by the Tanzanian health authorities when, on September 16, the team underwent rapid testing, and all were found to be negative.
“In a new twist, the Tanzanian health authorities that refused to allow the team leave the country insisted that the club members undergo RT-PCR test, of which the result has unnecessarily been delayed.”
According to Rivers United, the Tanzanian health authorities have demonstrated so much insincerity and there is no other conclusion to draw than to accuse the country of plotting “to rule the team members out of the second leg which comes up on September 19 at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt.”
As a last resort, the Port Harcourt-based club may have to appeal to the Confederation of African Football (CAF) as Rivers United cannot be denied their players due to the antics of opposing clubs and their health authorities.