Lagos - Kano Pillars captain Theophilus Afelokhai feels the armed robbery on the team bus in March continues to affect the players, which he believes led to their CAF Champions League exit.
The Nigerian Premier League champions came under attack while on their way to Heartland FC for the opening game of the 2015 campaign on March 5, with several players suffering injuries.
The psychological turmoil of the incident also effected numerous squad members, with Gambo Mohammed, Eneji Otekpa, Adamu Muritala, Reuben Ogbonnaya and Ubong Ekpai all having withdrawn their services for this year's continental competition.
And, following a 5-2 aggregate defeat to Moroccan champions Moghreb Athletic de Tetouan in round one of Africa's premier club cup competition, Afelokhai was left to rue the attack on the team bus and the long-lasting effects it has had on Pillars.
Also read: Kano Pillars toppled in another early exit
"The armed robbery attack on us on our way to Owerri to honour a league match at Heartland affected us badly both physically and psychologically," the Nigeria international told SuperSport.
"Five of our key players injured in the ugly incident namely Gambo, Otekpa, Muritala, Ogbonnaya and Ekpai were duly registered for the competition.
"We're denied of the immense services of the players in both legs of the fixtures in Morocco and Kano and you can't just quantify the losses.
"We merely and hurriedly improvised replacements for the injured players and the bite wasn't there up front.
"Even myself is still yet to recover fully from the shock of the incident, I'm not making excuses but I know for certain that if we had played with full strength the outcome would've been different.
"Well the deed has been done we can only look forward to the future with hope and fight hard to return to the trenches as quickly as possible."For the latest on national news, politics, sport, entertainment and more follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page.