By Fisayo Dairo
NPFL Super4 kings, Rivers United are still less than a year old, having metamorphosed from Dolphins and Sharks, but they are already being tipped by many league followers as one of the teams to look out for in the next football season.
The team which play their home games at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium in the busy axis of Elekhaia in Port Harcourt will, this Sunday, host El-Kanemi Warriors which has been some sort of fortress in their opening game of the 2016/17 football season.
United won 16 out of their 18 home games last term as they finished second on the log behind eventual winners, Rangers. United failed to win at home twice when they drew goalless draw with Sunshine Stars and Abia Warriors on Matchday 8 and on the final day respectively.
One of the team’s shining lights last term was winger Bernard Ovoke. The Delta-born left-footed winger scored nine goals and created two assists after joining the Pride of Rivers from relegated Bayelsa United. The team have apparently been refreshed by the addition of more good legs from the country and Ovoke is sure of his team doing well again this season.
“We are going to do well this season,” said Ovoke in a succinct but instructive tone during a chat.
“We have a good team and an experienced coach in Stanley Eguma. I think we are going to do well this season.”
Having had such a stellar debut season for United last term, Ovoke is not resting on his laurels and is hoping to make a bigger impression than he did last season.
“I will give God the glory for helping me last season and for the coming season, by His grace, I am going to lift my game and perform better than last year,” the former Abia Warriors starlet enthused.
Speaking on Rivers United’s continental assault this term, Ovoke is relishing the experience especially as he will be featuring in continental football for the first time in his fledgling career.
“I am looking forward to the experience. I believe we will go to the field and do better than Nigerian teams have done recently and on my part, I believe football is the same everywhere whether in the league or continent. It is all about football and I will always go there and do my job,” he said.
Rivers United have bolstered their ranks with a number of quality signings such as free-scoring midfielder Esosa Igbinoba and his former teammate at Nasarawa United, Ifeanyi Nweke. The duo of Gabriel Wassa and Lukman Mohammed also joined the team from Niger Tornadoes while former Flying Eagles goalkeeper Olufemi Thomas and diminutive midfielder, Nzube Anaezemba joined from former African champions, Enyimba.