By SAMMY WEJINYA
A potentially explosive cracker awaits Port Harcourt football fans as Rangers International of Enugu visits this Sunday to trade tackles with their CAF Champions League campaign mate, Rivers united.
The first three meetings involving the sides produced 10 goals, intrigues, and drama to be talked about for many years to come and coaches of the two sides understand it is a fifty-fifty affair as they meet again, for the fourth time ever, in one of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) match day 10 stand out (rescheduled) fixtures.
Stanley Eguma of Rivers United and Imama Amapakabo of Rangers while fulfilling their responsibilities in the media this week, predictably spoke in glowing terms about each other and their respective troops.
“It will certainly be an exciting game and will act as a good prelude to both clubs’ respective Caf Champions League matches (as they step out again next weekend).
“We know that Rivers United is a team that has done well for itself and they have some wonderful individual players that are capable of hurting you if you don’t concentrate all through the game.
“We also have players who are capable of giving them worries.
“The game will be worth the money of the paying public as it will be a very entertaining game,” Imama told www.riversunitedfc.com.ng.
Imama’s sentiments about Rangers’ arsenal is not an idle boast as he still possesses some of the best footballers in the division.
Daniel Etor, Fortune Omoniwari, Ugwu Uwadiegwu and Charles Henlong are four new arrivals who reek of unadulterated quality while ‘old head’, Bobby Clement continues to lead by example at the tip of the spear.
Playmaker, Obinna Nwobodo has yet to hit the heights of last season but class is permanent!
Stalwarts like Aguda Godwin Wanbe, Tope Olusesi, Chiamaka Madu and Pape Ousmane are other individuals on the Rangers side of the divide that will send a shiver or two down the spines of many a United supporter.
Eguma, the Rivers United technical manager, is however not exactly starved of extravagantly talented personnel.
Names like Bernard Ovoke and Guy Kuemian are now regularly invoked reverently by many a supporter in Port Harcourt and other parts of Rivers State following fearsome displays in the past year.
Others like Esosa Igbinona, Festus Austine, Olalekan Gabriel, Nzube Anaezemba, Gabriel Wassa and Christian Weli easily roll off the tongue and seemingly act as a pointer to a mouth-watering contest on Sunday.
Eguma is however quick to acknowledge that Sunday’s contest will be far from straightforward.
“Matches involving Rangers and Rivers United are always crackers and this one will be no different.
“Rangers have a very big pedigree and they are the champions and we will not take them for granted.
“I see this game as a derby as they are our rivals. “I expect a very tight game on Sunday,” he said
The form of the two side is anything but impressive with United yet to win in their last six NPFL matches.
Rangers have not fared much better either; winning just two of their last eight games in all competitions.
However, form seems to go out of the window whenever these two sides meet as exemplified by performances of both sets of gladiators in their past meetings which have never failed to provide goals, many of which are right out of the top drawer.