Match Preview: Bloemfontein Celtic vs Rivers United – Team news, form, head-to-head and prediction

Rivers United are back in CAF Confederation Cup action on Wednesday evening, as Stanley Eguma’s side head to South Africa to face Bloemfontein Celtic in the CAF Confederation Cup first round stages.

The CAF Confederation Cup is back, and Rivers United will need to be at their best at the Dr. Petrus Molemela Stadium on Wednesday evening following Bloemfontein Celtic’s home record in recent times.

John Maduka’s side bounced back from their MTN8 final disappointment with a 2-0 league victory over Baroka FC on Wednesday and they’ll be looking to secure another scalp at the hands of Rivers United.

Kunle Odunlani was the match-winner for Rivers United against Futuro Kings after aggregate score stool at 3-3 and the tie needed to be decided by penalty shootout – the “Pride of Rivers” will need some determination in Bloemfontein to get a result against the resurgence Celtic.

Stanley Eguma’s side overcame Futuro Kings De Mongomo over two legs in the preliminary round as an away goal scored by Godwin Aguda proved vital is deciding the tie.

Recent Form

The “Pride of Rivers” are not in buoyant mood heading to Bloemfontein following three wins and two loses in their last five matches played after falling 0-2 to Rangers FC in a preseason tournament on Wednesday in Enugu.

Theophilus Afelokai is expected to return, but Bamba Bakari could see himself continue at left-back after a string of bright performances since Konan’s injury.

Meanwhile Bloemfontein Celtic are also not in the best vein of form this season, as the Siwelele only bounced back from their MTN8 final disappointment with a 2-0 victory over Baroka FC on Wednesday evening.

Celtic moved in to 10th position on the DStv Premiership standings with two late goals from substitutes Tumelo Mangweni and Ishmael Njoti.

Team News

Stanley Eguma is set to have his full squad available when the “Pride of Rivers” visit Bloemfontein. Theophilus Afelokai should be available having overcome a thigh injury he sustained just before the preliminary round tie.

Godwin Aguda will be eager to continue his fine form in the CAF Confederation Cup – he has two goals in the opening two games.

Whilst for Celtic coach John Maduka, he has bigger selection problems following recent poor performance of first team players.

Maduka brought on Tumelo Mangweni for Victor Letsoalo, Given Mashikinye on for Lantshene Phalane, Menzi Banele Ndwandwe on for Ndumiso Mabena and Ishmael Njoti on for Tebogo Potsane in the closing stages of the teams last match against Baroka FC and it worked a treat.

It was Mangweni, who struck the first blow. Ndwandwe played the ball into the feet of the attacker and he fired past Baroka goalkeeper Oscarine Masuluke.

Ishmael Tumelo Njoti doubled Phunya Sele Sele’s lead after being assisted by Sera Motebang in the first minute of stoppage time to wrap up the three points.

Head-to-Head

Bloemfontein Celtic and Rivers United have never met in any competition

Prediction

Wednesday night will push Rivers United to the limit in terms of performance. But with both sides on good runs in the competition needing penalties to advance to this stage, it should see an entertaining affair with both sides looking to get the victory to enhance their chances of qualifying to the next round.

Stanley Eguma’s side have to be 100% against Celtic – defensively, tactically, going forward, and the discipline.

Eguma has few injuries to contend with, Maduka does not and with injuries to some players, those drafted in for United can’t afford to have any slip ups.

Rivers United have to be on point defensively, if not Celtic could run riot on Wednesday.

Prediction: Bloemfontein Celtic 1-2 Rivers United

Mayuku Charles
Media Officer
Rivers United FC

RUFC Media | 19th December 2020