NPFL: Rivers Utd set for title chase

Bernard Ovoke, man of the match
Bernard Ovoke, man of the match

Rivers United have completed a straight treble with victory over Wikki Tourists in the NPFL match day 16 encounter at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Port Harcourt and team handler Stanley Eguma says the team is now set to begin the chase for the NPFL season title.

In a highly technical match up with Wikki keeping possession with mid field crowding, most of the time, Gabriel Olalekan latched on Benard Ovoke’s assist to shoot home the decider in the 26th minute.

Both teams went into their technical best, consistently denying each other any further clear chance for the remaining part of the first half and all through the second part to close the game at 1-0 in favour of the home team.

The victory indicates an emerging consistency in Rivers following their defeat of Rangers at home, Warri Wolves away and now visiting Wikki Tourists, all in a row to claim nine points.

Coach Stanley Eguma says the victories are no fluke.

“We have been working hard after a hard start and we are now achieving some obvious consistency. With this kind of performance we can be sure to set out to fight for the league title.

“I commend my players and I give the glory to God. It was a hard earned victory. Wikki has proven that they are one if the best in the league. They gave us a run for our money. I must thank the boys for their hard work. It is not easy playing almost every 48 hours.”

Rivers came into the game without some of its top players including captain, Sunday Abe but Eguma says they managed the situation perfectly.

Our captain is an influential member of the team and he gives the boys a lot of confidence. We felt his absence but we worked on the boys and they responded. They showed a lot of maturity and character.”

Wikki helmsman, Coach Maikaba…. says however that Rivers were better on the evening.

“Rivers United presented a very good side and they deserved their victory. The boys are very good. I wasn’t surprised because I have worked with some of the before. My disappointment with my boys is that offensively, we did not get our acts right, then the first mistake in the Defence cost us the goal and that goal demoralized them. We tried to psyche them up but it did not work out. The defeat is however not a set back. I still believe in the boys and we will go back to the drawing board to work towards winning our next game at home.”

Rivers’ next move is to Umuahia to square up against Abia Warriors and Bernard Ovoke, man of the match, says they are eyeing all three points at stake despite the rugged nature of the Abia Warriors’ pitch.

We know the pitch in Umuahia is bad but we are ready to play there. I have played there before and some of our players have also played there too. The point is the pitch will be as difficult for the home team as it could be for us and Inbelieve we can even adapt better on the pitch that the Warriors’ players.”


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Fred Edoreh - Publisher

Born July 13, 1965, Fred Edoreh hails from Umeh, Isoko South, Delta State. He attended St. John Primary School, Iselegu, Mater Dei Collage Ashaka, St. Patrick’s Grammar School, Asaba for HSC and graduated in English and Literary Studies at Bendel State University, Ekpoma.
He went into journalism in 1990 with Newbreed Magazine and later crossed over to television production with Ultimate Sports and Soccerworld on the Nigeria Televsion Authority.
He subsequently moved to pioneer Internet publishing in Nigeria with Nigeriasports.com and was later employed at Silverbird Television from where he moved as Editor of Weekend Sports at Naational Mirror Newspapers.
He currently publishes the online sports website www.sportstalkafrica.com besides and also runs a sports marketing outfit, Westcoast Works and Projects, managing and marketing live radio broadcast of the Nigeria Professional Football League.

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