Rivers United versus Enyimba is always a special date on the domestic football calendar in Nigeria for varying reasons.
Sunday’s confrontation between the two sides comes with a special twist as the two sides will be desperate to amass the points in their respective quests to achieve set objectives.
United, branded as title favourites before the start of the season by many bookmakers, have underperformed spectacularly on all fronts so far this season with the nadir coming in the shape of an unceremonious ouster from the Aiteo Cup following a shocking reverse to unheralded Julius Atete FC in midweek.
The Port Harcourt club is still danger of suffering the ignominy of relegation from the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) and must win on Sunday at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium to calm frayed nerves of the home faithful.
United’s technical manager, Stanley Eguma knows beating the record NPFL winners, Enyimba in Port Harcourt on Sunday will be no walk in the Park.
“Playing against Enyimba is a big game any day, any time and we expect a tough game against them,” Eguma said to our official website, www.riversunitedfc.com.ng.
“It will especially tough as Enyimba is still (in the running) to be league champions this season.
“We will do everything possible, technically to see that we win the game because at this point in time, we cannot afford to drop points at home,” he said.
Eguma’s sentiments about Enyimba’s strengths do not appear misplaced or blown out of proportion.
The ‘Peoples’ Elephant’ represent formidable opposition.
Fatau Dauda and Joel Theophilus Afelokhai are two of the division’s top goal keepers while forward, Chinonso Okonkwo returns to his old stomping ground with a point to prove.
Kelly Kester and Ikechukwu Ibenegbu could cause problems for the ‘Pride of Rivers’ in Port Harcourt while attacker, Stephen Chukwude possesses unadulterated quality to hurt any side on a given day.
Enyimba’s head coach, Gbenga Ogunbote also spoke to us about the big game.
“Rivers versus Enyimba will be viewed as a derby.
“That the two teams are handled by men who know Port Harcourt very well also makes this fixture more interesting.
“Rivers United have some of the best players in the NPFL but sometimes, things don’t exactly go according to script,” he said.
There will be little margin for error on Sunday as these two giants go toe to toe on Sunday at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Port Harcourt.
Game: Rivers United versus Enyimba
Competition: Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL)
Match day: 35
Current positions of respective clubs on the NPFL log: Rivers United (14th); Enyimba (4th)
Date: Sunday, August 20, 2017
Venue: Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Port Harcourt
Time: 4 pm
**Live coverage** There will be robust coverage of this game by our media team (that will include videos and photos from the venue) simultaneously via our official Twitter account (@RiversUnitedFC) and official Whatsaap channel from 3:45 pm on match day.
Form guide (last five NPFL matches)
Rivers United (WDLLD)
Rivers United 1-1 Akwa United (H)
Rivers United 1-2 Enugu Rangers (A)
Rivers United 0-2 Kano Pillars (A)
Rivers United 1-1 Katsina United (H)
Rivers United 3-1 Remo Stars (A)
Enyimba 2-1 Lobi Stars (H)
Enyimba 0-1 Shooting Stars (A)
Enyimba 1-0 Kano Pillars (H)
Enyimba 0-0 MFM (A)
Enyimba 3-0 ABS (H)
Previous meetings in competitive matches
Matches: Four (4)
Rivers United wins: One (1)
Enyimba wins: Two (2)
Draws; One (1)
Goals for: Rivers United: One (1); Enyimba: Two (2)
Goals against: Rivers United: (2); Enyimba (1)
Points accumulated: Rivers United: Four (4) 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)