Stanley Eguma, the Rivers United manager is smiling once again and talking. It has been a long time coming for the ebullient coach who is used to granting expansive post-match reviews.
From title contenders till the last day of last season, he had watched Rivers United complete a near full circle to become relegation survivors, two matches to complete the ongoing 2016/17 season.
The team which had a pre-season tour of Spain with a number of matches against LaLiga sides have struggled all through even if they were the only Nigerian side to have reached the group stage of the CAF Confederation Cup after being knocked out of the CAF Champions League. But the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) this season has sure been a nightmare such that Eguma had at some point got the threat of sack.
But all that seem to have changed last Sunday with a heart-warming draw against leaders, Plateau United in Jos, a feat only Lobi Stars have achieved this season on a day a victory would have effectively closed the title race for Plateau United.
Eguma and the rest of the team surely has long-serving goalkeeper, Sunday Rotimi’s outstanding performance to thank for the heroics that denied the league leaders the chance to celebrate their grip on the title. Rotimi, punched, parried and dived to keep off the rampaging Plateau United offensive spearheaded by Peter Eneji jnr who eventually got a redeeming late strike to force Rivers United to a 1-1 draw.
An obviously relieved Eguma stepped forward after the final whistle and told npfl.ng that his side approached the game stronger on tactics and were almost achieving a win. He also was quick to heap praises on the players and said Plateau United should be happy for the draw they pulled.
“I am happy we got this point, we would have won if not the late goal but the most important thing is that this is a big boost for us to give our best to remain in the top league.
“It was a very good game and I must commend the team because they made me a happy man, it is draw but to me represents a big win,” Eguma said.
Rivers United return to Port Harcourt this Sunday to host relegation-threatened Gombe United in a fixture most believe should count the full three points to stow them further away from the drop zone they had languished around for most of the campaign. They go into Sunday’s game in 13th place with 49 points and will make the short drive to Umuahia on the last day against Abia Warriors
Culled from npfl.ng