Madrid - Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) club,
Rivers United have arrived in Madrid, Spain for the fifth and final phase of
pre-season ahead of the 2016/17 campaign.
The contingent of 18 players and eight officials touched
down at the Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airportat exactly 2:35pm local time on
Tuesday, December 13.
A brief stop-over in Frankfurt had been observed after the contingent
arrived in the German city at 5:20am local time following a six hour, ten
minute flight that began at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja by
11:10 pm on Friday, December 12.
The Port Harcourt club began their pre-season preparations
on November 1 in Port Harcourt with new and retained players commencing light
physical work under the guidance of technical manager, Stanley Eguma.
The second and third phases of pre-season continued in Abuja
and Kaduna, respectively.
United’s fourth phase of pre-season between December 7 and
11 came in the shape of Nigeria’s most prestigious pre-season tournament – the
Super 4 in Enugu.
The ‘Pride of Rivers’ emerged champions of that competition
after navigating three hard-fought matches against Nigeria’s flagbearers in
2017 Caf club competitions, Enugu Rangers, FC Ifeanyiubah and Wikki Tourists.
Speaking shortly before the team departed the Port Harcourt
International Airport, Omagwa on Tuesday, leader of the delegation and Rivers
State Commissioner of Sports, Honourable Boma Iyaye explained that the trip was
imperative as it acts as the icing on the cake as far as the club’s preparations
for the new season is concerned.
Also read: Super 4: Rivers United are 2016 champions
“This trip represents the fulfilment made to the team by the
number one supporter, the Rivers State Governor, His Excellency, Ezebunwo
Nyesom Wike as part of their pre-season preparations.
“Clubs in Madrid, particularly Real Madrid have a winning
culture and coming here (Madrid) will help us imbibe that spirit and psyche.
“Another objective of this training tour to Madrid is making
Rivers United not just a national and continental brand but one to be reckoned
“We will be in Madrid for ten days and have already forged
an alliance with La Liga, Spain, in the shape of training matches and more.
“By the time they are done with the training tour, I am sure
the players, coaches and officials will be the better for it,” Iyaye told the
club’s official website, www.riversunitedfc.com.ng.
In the same vein, striker Emeka Ogbugh has expressed
happiness at the opportunity which will be afforded him and his teammates in
“We want to thank the Rivers State Government for this
opportunity and we promise to justify this high level of confidence expected of
“It is important to let the sponsors and fans know that we
understand why we are all here and hopefully, we will do Rivers State and
Nigeria proud come 2017,” he said.
While in Madrid, Rivers United FC is expected to face a La
Liga club in a tune up game while proposed friendly matches have already been
lined up against Segunda B clubs, Levante Union Deportiva II and Club Deportivo
The Rivers United squad will also attend training sessions
of a La Liga club (as well as the sessions of the youth teams of the club).
A guided tour to the storied home of reigning European
champions, Real Madrid, the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu has also been lined up.
The technical crew of Rivers United led by manager, Stanley
Eguma is also expected to be huge beneficiaries of the programme as a crash
course on coaching methodology has already been arranged with the La Liga club.
The Rivers United contingent is due back in Nigeria on
Thursday, December 22. Rivers United
will represent Nigeria in the 2017 Caf Champions League.
Rivers United players
Festus Austine, Nzube Anaezemba, Godbless Asamoah, Joseph
Douhadji, Elvis Wike, Guy Kuemian, Olalekan Gabriel, Yusuf Jaiyeola, Kingsley
Patrick, Ayobami Asekunowo, Sunday Rotimi, Gabriel Wassa, Emeka Ogbugh,
Christian Weli, Ovoke Bernard, Ifeanyi Nweke, Markson Ojobo, Abiodun AkandeFor
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