BY SAMMY WEJINYA.
Rivers United face a stern test on Wednesday in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) as the leaders, Lobi Stars come to town.
United could replace Lobi at the summit of the standings but to do that, they will have to win by at least, three clear goals on Wednesday and hope that Plateau United do not win in Akure against Sunshine Stars.
Beating Lobi Stars by three clear goals will however be anything but straightforward.
Lobi Stars have the best defensive record in the division having let in just five goals in 13 league goals this term.
The Makurdi club have only lost twice this season and head coach, Gbenga Ogunbote says defeat in Port Harcourt in an option his charges will not consider.
“We have high respect for Rivers United considering their pedigree but tomorrow (Wednesday) will be a different game because we are on top (which is a motivating factor on its own) and for us to remain on top, we are talking about winning or drawing so we are not thinking about losing the game at all,” Ogunbote told the official Rivers United FC website, www.riversunitedfc.com.ng.
Lobi Stars is a well-drilled unit with experienced stars available to Ogunbote.
Lazarus John, Ebube Duru, fearsome forward Samad Kadiri, Douglas Achiv and club captain, Ayagwa Raphael have all made the trip to Port Harcourt.
Two former Rivers United players, Nzube Anaezemba and Chinonso Okonkwo, now on the books of Lobi will also give the Makurdi club an extra kick.
Rivers United, Unheralded grafters
After a slow start to the season, United have slowly but surely worked their way up the table.
That Stanley Eguma’s men could go top of the table on Wednesday shows just how much they have flown under the radar.
Eguma’s lads rarely stumble at home and have won five and drawn two of their seven home games this term.
The experienced gaffer is full of respect for Lobi but says victory will be achieved by his team on Wednesday.
“Lobi Stars is a very strong team full of very experienced players and a very good coach. They are not top of the league by accident but we have studied them in detail.
“We know their weakness and will exploit them. I am sure we will win the game on Wednesday,” he said.
Wednesday’s game will be decided at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Port Harcourt.