Head coach of Kano Pillars Okey Emordi , has admitted that his players suffered a huge psychological set back following the rescheduling of the kick-off time of their match against Moghreb Tetouan on Saturday.
The Nigerian champions had fixed the time for 2pm but orders from CAF on match day through the Nigeria Football Federation shifted kick-off to 4pm at the Sani Abacha Stadium.
Despite a 2-1 victory with goals from Tony Edjomariegwe and Rabiu Ali, pillars crashed out for the third straight year without reaching the group stage as their Moroccan opponents advanced 5-2 on aggregate.
Emordi, who had conditioned his men to an early kick-off, lamented the advantage in time shift to the visitors while recalling how they were forced to play under an extremely cold weather in Morocco.
The unhappy former Caf Champions League winner with Enyimba in 2004, who has now failed twice with Kano Pillars, admitted Mogreb Tetouan was the better side over the two legs of the second round stage.
“Back home they were very tactically disciplined – that’s what really helped them. We conceded three goals in the first half – I have never experienced such thing in my life,” Emordi said.
“Their antics worked out for them – because the match was earlier slated for 6pm when we got there they shifted it to 9pm – the place was very cold. Here we tried to play the same but eventually we could not make it.
“Throughout the week, we trained under the sun at 2pm, now the match was shifted to 4pm. it affected all of us. I was demoralized too. It’s unfortunate, but who do you blame?”
Emordi praised his players’ second half show but also gave his defenders the knocks for giving the Moroccans a scoring opportunity.
“What I really wanted as an achievement was to qualify and not to win. How did we let in such first goal as tactical discipline in the defense that was not kept? It’s very unfortunate.
“It’s a continuous exercise. We will keep focus on the league. We keep on training, restructuring – it’s just like in one’s family, there are good and bad ones. You keep on working hard to get better.
“A lot of incidents have befallen the team in recent weeks. It’s rather unfortunate for us leaving the competition at this stage. We all wanted to achieve something this time, but it’s now impossible.
“They did well in the second half. I appreciate their impressive game in the second half, if they had started that way in the first half it would have been a different ball game,” he concluded.