Lagos - Another special treat awaits followers of the
Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) on Wednesday as two of the most
exciting sides in the land, FC IfeanyiUbah and Rivers United square up in one
of the glamour ties of the round.
The FC IfeanyiUbah Stadium, Nnewi is the arena for
Wednesday’s game which will see two of Nigeria’s representatives in Caf’s
inter-club competitions battle for supremacy.
FC IfeanyiUbah’s home form is fearsome to say the least.
They totally outclassed high-flying MFM FC 4-0 in the only game played in front
of their vociferous supporters thus far.
Head coach, Yaw Preko is spoilt for choice in a squad
teeming with quality personnel.
Captain Ikechukwu Ezenwa remains one of the best goalkeepers
in West Africa while Valentine Nwabili, Onyekachi Akakem, Elu Wilson and
Stephen Eze make up an extremely impregnable-looking ‘back four’.
In Madrano Tamen, FCIU possess probably the most
naturally-gifted playmaker in the land while Kone Yaya, Jimoh Oni, King Osanga
and the enigmatic Prince Aggrey represent threats from midfield and up top.
Seka Paschal and the Brazilian, Alberico Da Silva can also
influence issues as impact substitutes while new addition, Ifeanyi Onuigbo
comes with bags of experience.
Rivers United forward, Maduabuchi Okereke knows the inner
workings of FCIU quite well having played for the Anambra Warriors last term.
He insists that the Pride of Rivers will be vanquished
unless they play the perfect game on Wednesday.
“I know most (of the FCIU) players very well and I have
spoken to some ahead of this game.
“They are eager to beat Rivers United just as they did last
season and if we don’t play a perfect game, I don’t think we can avoid defeat
because they are very determined and have very good players.
“Last season, I played against Rivers United (in Nnewi) and
I did well (he grabbed the assist for the first goll of the game that finished
“Now, I face my former club and my expectation is to do much
better than I did last season,” he told the club’s official website,
While FCIU appear to be the overwhelming favourites on
paper, United, unbeaten in their last NPFL matches, have been flying under the
radar and quietly and effectively going about their business.
The Port Harcourt club have been effective if not
spectacular this term and are just one of three unbeaten sides in the NPFL.
Also read: LMC fines FC IfeanyiUbah over N9m for forfeiting match, suspends referee
Wednesday’s game against FCIU however represents their
sternest test thus far but club captain, Festus Austin is making the right
noises and understandably so.
“Last season’s visit to Nnewi was not a good one for us but
we know what is at stake for us.
“We just have to improve on our performances away from home.
“The objective is to at least avoid defeat in Nnewi,” he
Wednesday’s contest promises to be fascinating and
intriguing; the force of nature up against the immovable object – surely, something
has to give.
Form guide (last five
Rivers United (WDWWD)
Rivers United 0-0 Abia Warriors (Home)
Rivers United 2-1 Akwa United (Away)
Rivers United 2-1 El Kanemi Warriors (Home)
Rivers United 1-1 Akwa United (Away)
Rivers United 1-0 Niger Tornadoes (Home)
FCIU 1-0 Enyimba (Home)
FCIU 0-1 MFM FC (Away)
FCIU 0-3 Kano Pillars (Away)
FCIU 4-0 MFM FC (Home)
FCIU 0-1 ABS FC (Away)
Previous meetings (Head-to-head)
Matches: Three (3)
FCIU wins: One (1)
Rivers United wins: Two (1)
Draws; Nil (0)
Details (Specific breakdown)
Rivers United 2-0 FCIU (NPFL; Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Port
Harcourt on February 28, 2016)
FCIU 2-0 Rivers United (NPFL; FC Ifeanyiubah Stadium, Nnewi
June 19, 2016)
FCIU 0-2 Rivers United (NPFL Super 4, Nnamdi Azikiwe
Stadium, Enugu on December 10, 2016).
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