Enugu - Enugu Rangers coach, Imama Amapakabo is full of
praise for Rivers United despite masterminding a 2-0 defeat of the Port
Harcourt club in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) Super 4 on
Chisom Egbuchulam’s stunning second half double at the
Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu put the ‘Pride of Rivers’ to the sword as the ‘Flying
Antelopes’ hit the ground running in Nigeria’s biggest pre-season tournament.
Amapakabo noticed improvements in the United team and tips
them to achieve positive things in the future.
“Rivers United have some very very good players that they
have been able to add into their team and they are beginning to stand up and be
“About three of my players were not finding their feet in
the first half so I knew I had to effect the substitutions I did (that) in the
second half for things to happen for us.
“We came with a different game plan but Rivers United
surprised us with their tactics.
“I was expecting (Rivers United technical manager, Stanley
Eguma) to play with three attackers, spread out wide but he played two strikers
with (Nzube) Anaezemba playing out wide and coming into the centre.
“We noticed that, reorganized our play and it paid off for
us,” he told www.riversunitedfc.com.ng.
Amapakabo also had words of praise for the vanquished United
team which he described as “a very good side that can hold on to the ball and
“This is a better team compared to the side of last season.
This is a very good side that can hold on to the ball and play.
“They however do too much of that (keep possession) in their
own half of the pitch but I am sure the coach will correct that as the days go
“They need to play a lot more of through passes with their
attackers making a lot of runs (off the ball) and they will get it right.
“On Wednesday, I saw a (Rivers United) side with so much
confidence and they always want to play which is not a good thing,” he said.
Also read: Eguma says Rangers game not about revenge
Meanwhile, Eguma was still in bullish mood after the reverse
on Wednesday especially after seeing his side play so well early on.
The experienced gaffer praised his players for the effort
and identified isolated individual and collective mistakes for the loss to the
“The goals they scored were against the run of play which were
as a result of some defensive blunders we committed.
“Generally, my team did not disappoint but we will get
“Don’t forget too that Rangers played basically, the same
team from last season while we are still trying to build a new team and that
gave them a little edge over us.
“We lost concentration in some moments in the second half
and also failed to score from some very good chances we created,” he said.
Rangers will next meet Wikki Tourists in a top-of-table
clash on Friday by 5pm with United kicking off their next game of the
tournament against FC Ifeanyiubah by 7pm.
Both games will be played at ‘the Cathedral’, the Nnamdi
Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu.
that a spectacular second half strike by Emeka Ogbugh proved decisive as Rivers
United subdued Shekarau Babes 1-0 in a fiercely-competed opening game at the
2016 Shehu Dikko Annual pre-season tournament in Kaduna on last week Thursday.
Goal scoring opportunities were at a premium in both halves
with the two sides appearing evenly matched for most parts but a moment of
quality, 20 minutes from the end settled matters at the Kaduna Township
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- News24 Nigeria