Match Preview: Enyimba vs Rivers United 

Good morning All, 

It’s been increasing tough finding the desire to blog here daily. I know I whine about it all the time but it’s a serious thing now. Reverting to just previews and reviews is unpleasant and as always I’ll love to return to what it used to be but it’s very difficult at the moment. I pray things change. 

We line up against Rivers United this evening in our Calabar home. It’s a game of strong significance especially bearing in mind where both teams stand right now in terms of pedigree. We used to be their nemesis- but with several of our guys leaving last season (you can say they took some of our bests- Nzube Anaezemba and Femi Thomas), we just have our name to protect. 

They come into this tie having suffered terribly recently. Knocked out of the Champions League despite a 3-0 first leg lead, they fell headlong in Sudan and lost 4-0 to their opponents. The result is that they get demoted to the Confederations Cup. Days later, they lost in Lagos, in a game they feel hardly done by. (I still think the ref made the right calls with the penalties). 

The gaffer did touch that in a Prematch briefing. 

You’re playing Rivers United tomorrow. As an entity, they have not existed in this form for long. Were you surprised at how quickly they became a challenger in the league last season?

Oh no, forget about—the name does not really matter in this circumstance. It’s like talking of new wine in old kegs. It’s a combination of [the now defunct] Dolphins and Sharks, and you know both were household names in the league. So, one is not surprised at how they came to that position. They’re old horses too.

Rivers United got knocked out of the Champions League after throwing away what seemed a strong lead, losing away 4-0. What are your thoughts on their result, and do you feel a club with greater experience could have held up better with such a lead?

Much as I would not like to discuss other teams, it all depends on individuals. It is quite unfortunate they couldn’t hold on to the lead. It’s not just an issue of Rivers United this time, it is an issue of Nigeria, because they are representing this country. Experience is of course a factor, you know; for the very reasonable period of time that Enyimba represented the nation, you hardly can find that sort of result”.

Interesting thoughts and I do agree with the gaffer. We haven’t done exceptionally well Enyimba but we have progressed further than most teams who launched a Continental bid. The experience is vital and that’s one area where we are heads and shoulders above other Nigerian teams. 

Focus however is on what happens this evening and as one who coached one of the two sides merged to form Rivers United, Ogunbote sure does understand the man in the opposite dugout and has had several battles with him in the past. Let’s hope our man gets one over his rival tomorrow.  

No injury concerns according to the gaffer- 

“Not really, even though that is synonymous with the game. Week in, week out, we suffer some knocks, but we don’t have any that are too serious. There are no new concerns”. 

An uncomfortable stat is the fact is that we have failed to beat them in the League since they were formed last season but we knocked them out of the Federations Cup last season in that thrilling performance in Ibadan. We managed a goalless draw in Calabar just before the season started. It’s about time we beat them in the League. 

Let’s trust that the boys get the memo as well. 

Updates at the regular channels. 

Back tomorrow. 



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