NPFL Matchday 8 (rescheduled) Preview
MFM FC v Rivers United FC
Players and officials of Rivers United FC return to domestic competition after the heart-rending disappointment of failure in the Caf Champions League.
United was outclassed in Sudan last Saturday by Al-Merreikh in the second leg of their first round tie in Omdurman.
Many expected the Pride of Rivers to progress to the group stage of the competition especially after they recorded a majestic 3-0 victory in the first leg in Port Harcourt but a humbling 4-0 reverse brought Eguma Stanley’s men down to earth.
The beautiful thing about football is that the games come thick and fast and vanquished sides usually have a quick chance to gun for redemption in rapid fashion.
United have that opportunity for a reprieve on Wednesday but anything other than a five-star performance in their rescheduled Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) game against MFM is likely to end in tears as the Lagos club currently represents one of the most exciting propositions in the division.
In Sikiri Olatunbosun and Chukwuka Onuwa, the hosts possess magicians who can unlock any defence in the land with piercing passes of exquisite quality.
Stephen Odey is the name on everybody’s lips; the attacker has netted an extraordinary 10 goals in 13 matches.
The young attacker is the first player to notch up double figures this term and is responsible for 56% percent of all of his side’s goals in the NPFL (18) this season.
Leaving him in acres of space in the final third of the pitch is tantamount to sitting on a keg of gun powder and United’s defenders know he will need no second invitation to leave pain and gnashing of teeth in his wake.
Odey’s goals have come mostly through the same supply channel – Olatunbosun.
Olatunbosun has provided assists for four of Odey’s goals this season which represents the best player-to-player combination for goals this term.
Odey spoke to the official Rivers United website on his purple patch and rich vein of form insisting he will keep his feet firmly on the ground.
“I never believed I would have scored as many as 10 goals this season but I prepared well for the season and got good advice from my elder brother, John.
“We will not tale about what we (MFM) want to achieve now until the end of the season,” Odey said to www.riversunitedfc.com.ng.
United’s troops are crest-fallen following the unfortunate expedition to Omdurman at the weekend and need a quick response to reassure the teeming faithful of the Pride of Rivers.
Chief coach of United, Willy Udube says defeat is clearly not on the cards from the perspective of the Port Harcourt club.
“We have to get something in Lagos as a result of our position on the table,” he said.
United currently occupies 17th spot on the NPFL standings with 14 points from 10 matches while MFM is in second place on the log with 24 points from 13 matches.
Rivers United Media
3SC v Rangers: Battle to climb out of relegation zone
The two oldest Nigerian club sides, Shooting Stars Football Club of Ibadan and Rangers International of Enugu will this afternoon, at the Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba, rekindle their rivalry in a rescheduled week eight tie of the Nigeria Professional Football League, (NPFL).
For both club sides, it is not the best of times with spate of unimpressive runs on the local and continental scenes and this is giving a lot of concerns to their fans.
The hosts, Shooting Stars are the hard-hit with four consecutive home draws, the last was against Abia Warriors on Sunday with the home fans believing that nothing short of maximum points this afternoon will be entertained.
They wondered why a team with impressive away records (three recent draws in Katsina, Enyimba and Gombe) would find it difficult to win at home!
As such, they are beginning to get inpatient and unconvinced about the ability of the coaches and players to weather the storm of the NPFL challenges!
This is why, Fatai Amoo and his technical crew must fashion out a winning strategy to convince their darling fans and supporters on the readiness to make them happy and proud from now on!
Interestingly, the pool of young and experienced players is available to choose from and with the latest checks from camp that indicate maximum concentration, Rangers are in for trouble!
For Rangers FC, it may be double trouble visiting the Oluyole Warriors few days after its exist from prestigious African Champions League Competition courtesy of Zamalek FC of Egypt.
Zamalek FC qualified to the group stage with a 5-3 aggregate scoreline, losing 1-2 in Enugu after 4-1 first leg win in Cairo.
This, notwithstanding, the Flying Antelopes will not be a push over as perennial rivals, and the Oluyole Warriors must give their best to repeat last year’s feat of beating Rangers 2-1 in Ibadan after forcing 1-1 draw in Enugu!
Both teams are in bottom rung of the ladder with Shooting Stars slightly ahead on 13 points in the 18th position to Rangers’ 12 points in 19th though with two outstanding games due to its continental campaigns.
However, it a must watch encounter and certainly fans will not miss the attendant trappings any time both club sides meet and this afternoon presents another golden chance for big football spectacle!
Both games kick-off 4:00PM
Photo Credit: Twitter/@LMCNPFL