Super4 final matchday preview

By Sam Nnaji

A very interesting 2016 NPFL Super4 comes to an end on Sunday evening at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium Enugu. It has been a very successful tournament especially quality-wise as the quartet, Nigeria's representatives on the continent in the coming year, round off this phase of their preparations.

Served up to size up how ready they are and areas where improvement is required, the coaches can attest that the tournament has done its job - having seen their sides test by the best sides in the country at the moment. Rangers coach Imama Amapakabo for instance knows that while his second string 11 may not be as potent in front of goal as their fellows, they can be trusted to equally keep it tight at the back.

Wikki Tourists coach Mohammed Baba Ganaru on the other hand knows that even though his team have goals in them, having bounced back from a goal down in their first game to beat FC Ifeanyiubah, more work is required to perfect the act of unlocking stubborn defences. For Stanley Eguma, his star-studded Rivers United side will come good once their legion of new faces strike an understanding among themselves.

FC Ifeanyiubah are, on the basis of their first two games, in need of more time of preparation having exhausted a lot of time following their Federation Cup conquest. They lead the table from the rear and heading into the final matchday, are the only side that are incapable of winning the competition. Their task is however even more compounded by the fact that they are up against the league defending champions Rangers International in the final game of the tournament.

That game would of course be preceded by Rivers United's clash with Wikki Tourists. The gaffers would say winning the Super4 is not the target but behind closed doors and in their team talks, they must be challenging their players to get out there and do just enough to beat Sunday's opponents and get crowned winners.

Most likely, there would be a number of fresh faces especially for a Wikki Tourists side that fielded nine starters for the first two clashes. Newly acquired striker Shammah Tenze already looks at home in the side, perhaps a chance to hand starting berths to others. It is similar story for Rivers United who cannot afford to line up same players for the third game in a row.

The competition befittingly ends with the Oriental Derby between two sides among whom no love is lost. In these regions, clashes such as these are never seen as 'just friendly' games. It is even incensed by the fact that FC Ifeanyiubah's poor performance in the first two games have them under pressure to perform optimally. But will Rangers be showing anyone any favours? It is unlikely.

Kickoff is 5pm and 7pm and both games are live on SuperSport.