A spectacular second half strike by Emeka Ogbugh proved decisive as Rivers United subdued Shekarau Babes 1-0 in a fiercely-competed opening game at the 2016 Shehu Dikko Annual pre-season tournament in Kaduna on Thursday.
Goal scoring opportunities were at a premium in both halves with the two sides appearing evenly matched for most parts but a moment of quality, 20 minutes from the end settled matters at the Kaduna Township Stadium.
Second half substitute Ogbugh credited the Rivers United technical manager, Stanley Eguma for the goal explaining that the experienced gaffer’s last minute instructions before he was thrown into the fray proved crucial.
“Before I was introduced, I received instructions from the coach (Eguma) to shoot at goal. So when I had that chance, I (pulled the trigger).
“I give glory to God that the ball went into the net,” he told the Rivers United official website, www.riversunitedfc.com.ng.
The win over Shekarau Babes means United have won every game they have played in pre-season as they intensify preparations for the 2016/17 season.
Rivers United will represent Nigeria in the 2017 Caf Champions League and the Shekarau Babes coach, Kabiru Ali Mazado believes the ‘Pride of Rivers’ will give Nigeria good representation on the continent.
“We played against a very good team comprising of very good and experienced footballers.
“By the grace of God, they will go places and the entire nation will be supporting them in the 2017 Caf Champions League,” Mazado said.
Following their perfect start to the tournament, United will receive stern tests in the shape of two potentially difficult games on Friday when the tournament enters match day two.
They face Albatex FC by 9am at the Kaduna Township Stadium before facing Kaduna United by 4pm at the same venue.
Rivers United technical manager, Eguma is pleased with the opportunity to continue to build his team through tests posed by games in the tournament.
“Our opponents (Shekarau Babes) gave us a good game and I am impressed with the level of our opponents as they are a fantastic team.
“We won the game because we are more experienced than them but we still have a lot to do.
“It is important to win matches in pre-season and it builds confidence but the truth is, if we cannot replicate this form when the season starts, then all our hard work will be in vain.
“We know the expectations are high but everyone at Rivers United is very professional and we will continue to work extremely hard every day,” he said. lstanley-talks-about-win-over-shekarau-babes