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Rivers United captain says winning first match against El-Kanemi Warriors crucial to season

Lagos – The captain of Rivers United Football Club, Festus Austin, on Friday said his team needed a good start to the 2017/2018 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season this Sunday.

Austin said in Lagos that his team was ready for their first match of the season against El-Kanemi Warriors of Maiduguri.

“Winning our first match is important to our campaign this season,’’ he said.

Austin said his team would aim for the maximum points on Sunday, after drawing inspiration from recent successes in the pre-season period.

“We are ready for the first match against El-Kanemi. It is an important match for us and we cannot afford a miss.

“The first match is crucial for us because it may determine what the team will look like in the season. We want all three points against them.

“We have prepared well through various pre-season tournaments.

“We are going to defeat El-Kanemi Warriors in Port Harcourt,’’ he said.

NAN reports that Rivers United had an unimpressive performance in the 2016/2017 NPFL season and barely escaped relegation in spite of playing in the 2017 CAF Champions League.

This time however, the club has had some reinforcements, and prepared for the season by playing in several pre-season tournaments.

Rivers United won the recently-concluded four-team pre-season competition at the Sharks FC Stadium in Port Harcourt, beating Abia Warriors in the final.

The club are now up against El-Kanemi Warriors in a stand-out fixture in the opening weekend of the 2017/18 campaign at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium in Port Harcourt.

El-Kanemi Warriors will be hoping to continue from where they stopped last season, after narrowly missing out on winning a ticket to the continent.

The Desert Warriors management have gone on to employ the 2015/2016 title-winning coach, Imama Amapakabo, to bolster their campaign.

Amapakabo, currently with the CHAN Eagles as the team’s assistant coach, is expected to bring his wealth of experience to the team.(NAN)


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