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Preview: El Kanemi Warriors vs Rivers United

Three matches have been postponed this match day in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) this weekend.

One of the games which will go ahead is the one in Maiduguri between Rivers United and El-Kanemi Warriors.

United go into the game knowing circumstances could have been happier following a feisty and ill-tempered Federation Cup quarter final clash against Enyimba on July 28 which was quickly followed by an auto crash involving the club’s official bus.

That accident left no less than four members of the club hospitalised while several others were left with varying degrees of injury.

Club captain Festus Austin admits it has been a difficult last few days at the Rivers United.

“We have suffered a lot and some of us still bear psychological scars.

“It is not an excuse for a bad performance. We are a very strong side and we will prove it again on Saturday,” the centre half said.

United have not lost more than once by more than a single goal margin this season.

The only time they suffered a defeat by more than a one-goal margin was on June 19 when they lost 0-2 to FC Ifeanyiubah in Nnewi.

Maiduguri is however not a happy hunting ground for most sides in the NPFL this season.

No side has escaped defeat at the El-Kanemi Sports Complex in Maiduguri this term and United will be looking to be the first side to achieve that feat on Saturday.

Only MFM FC have scored in Maiduguri this season as El-Kanemi kept clean sheets in all their previous league games there this term.

Ladan Bosso is the head coach of the Maiduguri club and he expects a win over United this term.

“We are going for all three points on Saturday. In as much as we respect the big sides in the league, we do not fear them and that is why we are undefeated against all big sides in Maiduguri this season.

“Rivers United must be prepared to lose to us on Saturday,” he said.

United will prosecute the game without inspirational goalkeeper Sunday Rotimi, who has missed just one game for the club in all competitions this season.

The veteran shot-stopper is however optimistic about the chances of United this term.

“I always want to play every game so I am not happy to miss this game. However, I am very comfortable in the quality of the goalkeepers we have taken to Maiduguri.

“This is a game I know we can win,” he said.

Akande Abiodun and Joseph Cole are the two goalkeepers who have made the trip to Maiduguri and they have both received a seal of approval from Rotimi.

They have yet to play a single minute of a competitive match for United this season.

The sparks are literally set to fly with the Warriors keen to avenge the 0-1 loss suffered to United in the reverse fixture.

Form guide (Last five matches)

El Kanemi Warriors (LLWLW)

El Kanemi Warriors 1-0 Lobi Stars (Home)

El Kanemi Warriors 0-2 Enyimba (Away)

El Kanemi Warriors 3-1 MFM FC (Home)

El Kanemi Warriors 0-1 FCIU (Away)

El Kanemi Warriors 0-3 Nasarawa United (Away)


Rivers United (LWWLL)

Rivers United 0-2 FCIU (Away)

Rivers United 0-1 Nasarawa United (Away)

Rivers United 1-0 Niger Tornadoes (Home)

Rivers United 2-0 Shooting Stars (Home)

Rivers United 0-1 Sunshine Stars (Away)

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