Rivers United will be looking to get their season back on track when they face Niger Tornadoes on match day 26 of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).
The ‘Pride of Rivers’ have lost their last two NPFL matches (0-2 to FC Ifeanyiubah and 0-1 against Nasarawa United) and know that only a win on Sunday at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Port Harcourt will throw them back into reckoning.
Stanley Eguma, the Rivers United technical manager happily has almost a full complement of players to choose from ahead of Sunday’s game against the Minna club.
Bernard Ovoke has been reintegrated into the United first team while Onyekachi Okafor is available for selection after he missed the club’s last game-the 0-1 defeat to Nasarawa United in Makurdi.
Ghanaian marksman, Godbless Asamoah and left back, Chiwendu Ali are the only notable absentee for Rivers United.
Asamoah is yet to fully recover from the hamstring strain that has side-lined him for recent matches while Ali picked up a knock in Friday’s training session and will undergo a late fitness test on Sunday
Tornadoes’ head coach, Bala Abubakar also has no major injuries or suspensions to worry about ahead of the big game against United.
Gabriel Wassa remains one of the most important members of the Tornadoes squad with Mustapha Musa, Solomon Owello, Abawula Anthony and Jackson Daniel completing a solid spine.
Tornadoes won the reverse fixture 3-2 at the Confluence Stadium, Lokoja on March 13 with coach Abubakar blaming a lapse in concentration for his side’s late capitulation which saw them almost blow a 3-0 lead.
The youthful trainer is however expecting a completely different kind of game in Port Harcourt on Sunday.
“Fans of Tornadoes should not expect an easy match because Rivers United have one of the best sides in the NPFL.
“When you take a look at the table and see their current position, it gives you an idea of just how strong they are.
“I am not promising anything but I know we will give Rivers United a good match,” Abubakar told Rivers United media.
Eguma knows Sunday’s game will be potentially decisive for his side and wants a big performance from his charges.
“We want a victory and we are well-prepared. It will be a very interesting game because Tornadoes are in a precarious position on the log.
“However, we know the importance of a win and we hope that our players play at a high level,” he said.
Rivers United is currently in third place in the NPFL standings while Tornadoes are in 11th.
Form guide (Last five matches)
Rivers United (LLWDW)
Rivers United 1-0 Lobi Stars (H)
Rivers United 0-0 Enyimba (A)
Rivers United 4-1 MFM FC (H)
Rivers United 0-2 FCIU (A)
Rivers United 0-1 Nasarawa United (A)
Niger Tornadoes (WLDWW)
Niger Tornadoes 2-1 FCIU (H)
Niger Tornadoes 1-0 Plateau United (H)
Niger Tornadoes 1-1 Enugu Rangers (H)
Niger Tornadoes 0-1 Nasarawa United (A)
Niger Tornadoes 2-0 Warri Wolves (H)
Prediction: Rivers United 3-1 Niger Tornadoes.