Rivers United will be gunning for a third straight home win in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) this season when they host Enyimba in Port Harcourt today.
United have won on each of the last two occasions they have faced Enyimba in the NPFL in Port Harcourt and will be hoping normal service continues today.
However, Enyimba have been lifted by their first win of the campaign against Nasarawa United in their last NPFL game on Thursday at the UJ Esuene Stadium in Calabar.
Stanley Dimgba scored the winner against ‘The Solid Miners’ and he is likely to start against the ‘Pride of Rivers’ supported by a stellar cast that includes Stephen Chukwude, Chinedu Udeagha and fearsome attacker Chinonso Okonkwo, who makes a return to his old stomping ground.
Okonkwo is a darling in Port Harcourt having played his part as United punched above their weight to finish as runners-up behind Enugu Rangers in the NPFL two seasons ago.
Enyimba coach Paul Aigbogun is likely to favour Ghanaian goalkeeper Fatau Dauda to start between the sticks, while Olayinka Onaolapo and Benjamin Francis represent a strong spine in the back four.
Ugochukwu Leonard, Ernest Governor, Dare Ojo and Ifeanyi Anaemena are other individuals that Aigbogun would bank on for a positive result in Port Harcourt.
Anaemena is looking forward to the game and discussed the prospects of ‘The People’s Elephant’ with Rivers United official website, www.riversunitedfc.com.ng.
“Our expectations are very high. We know that Rivers United have prepared for us,” Anaemena began.
“Clubs (in the NPFL) have been winning (both) at home and away from home so we expect nothing less than a win in Port Hacourt.
“We want our fans in Port Harcourt to come out in their numbers to support us.”
Team News Rivers United
Robert Cole did no wrong in his first two matches in the top flight against El-Kanemi Warriors and Plateau United but he will only get a look in on Sunday, if Sunday Rotimi broke a limb!
Eguma has decisions to make with Marson Ojobo impressing at right back in his last two games while Bello Ikeleji, who was dropped in a 2-0 reverse to Sunshine Stars in Akure, has impressed in training in the past few days and will be eager to get a look in since his last appearance against Plateau United on match day two.
Koffi Roland debuted in Akure against Sunshine Stars and showed flashes of quality as United capitulated and conceded two late goals against the Akure Gunners.
Upfront, Samuel Akinbinu will be favoured to start as he has made a full recovery from the shoulder injury that kept him out of action for three match days.
He could play a vital role in this game.
United coach Stanley Eguma has masterminded wins in all his homes games this term and is keen to stay true to tested and trusted ideals against Nigeria’s most successful club at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium, the club’s stately patch which is fast becoming an impregnable fortress for visiting sides.
“We (Rivers United) have a philosophy and tradition of trying to keep the ball.
“We know that if we do that, we will do more of the playing and we also have to be adventurous, attack and look for goals.
“Against Enyimba, we should perform better than we did (in our last match against Sunshine Stars) because the game on Sunday is an important game,” he concluded.
Game: Rivers United versus Enyimba
Competition: Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL)
Match day: Five (5)
Current positions of respective clubs on the NPFL log: Rivers United: 14th; Enyimba: 15th
Date: Sunday, January 24, 2018
Venue: Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Port Harcourt
Time: 4 pm
Form guide (last five NPFL matches)
Rivers United: LLWLW
Rivers United 1-4 Abia Warriors (Away)
Rivers United 1-0 El Kanemi Warriors (Home)
Rivers United 0-2 Plateau United (Away)
Rivers United 2-1 Kano Pillars (Home)
Rivers United 0-2 Sunshine Stars (Away)
Enyimba 1-0 Katsina United (Home)
Enyimba 1-1 Lobi Stars (Away)
Enyimba 0-0 Heartland (H)
Enyimba 0-2 Katsina United (Away)
Enyimba 1-0 Nasarawa United (Home)
Previous meetings in competitive matches (Head-to-head)
Matches: Five (5)
Rivers United wins: Two (2)
Enyimba wins: Two (2)
Draws; One (1)
Goals for: Rivers United: Three (3); Enyimba: Three (3)
Goals against: Rivers United: Three (3); Enyimba (Three)
Points accumulated: Rivers United: Seven (7) Enyimba: Four (4)
Details (Specific breakdown)
Game one: Rivers United 1-0 Enyimba (NPFL. Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Port Harcourt on February 21, 2016)
Game two: Enyimba 0-0 Rivers United (NPFL. Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Port Harcourt on June 9, 2016).
Game three: Enyimba 1-0 Rivers United (Federation Cup. Lekan Salami Stadium, Ibadan on July 28, 2016).
Game four: Enyimba 1-0 Rivers United (NPFL. UJ Esuene Stadium, Calabar on March 26, 2017)
Game five: Rivers United 2-1 Enyimba (NPFL. Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Port Harcourt on August 20, 2017).