Matchday 8: Yobe Desert Stars vs Rivers United

Rivers United will attempt what no side have yet ever managed in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) this season on Sunday – avoid defeat against Yobe Desert Stars on their home patch in Damaturu.

Wikki Tourists, Lobi Stars and Katsina United have all visited Damaturu this season and have suffered defeats with the hosts keeping clean sheets in all three games.

United have been poor travellers this term with no points recorded on their travels after three road trips to Jos (Plateau United won 2-0), Akure (Sunshine Stars won 2-0) and Enugu (where Rangers humbled them 1-0).

The Pride of Rivers are one of five sides in Nigeria’s top division yet to score away from home this term (Sunshine Stars, El-Kanemi Warriors, Nasarawa United and Kwara United are the other four) but the club’s technical manager, Stanley Eguma believes all that will change on Sunday.

“We have studied our opponents well and will try to exploit their weaknesses,” Eguma told Rivers United media.

“Yobe Stars is a new team in the league but they have been very, very good at home.

“We will go to Damaturu with a very strong team. All the teams that have gone there (Damaturu) have fallen but we will not want to fall like them.”

TEAM NEWS (RIVERS UNITED)

Robert Cole has made the long trip to Damaturu but Rotimi Sunday is again favoured to start after keeping a clean sheet in the Rivers Derby against Go Round FC.

Ochowechi ‘Oche’ Salefu has been the shining light for the Port Harcourt club this term and after claiming his debut goal last Sunday, he will be dreaming of a repeat performance against the newly-promoted side.

HOW YOBE STARS WILL SET UP SHOP

Yobe Stars play the classic 4-4-2 formation with Chinedu Ohanachom the focal point of a fluid attack.

Ohanachom has scored 95 per cent of the club’s goals in the NPFL this season.

The Yobe Desert Stars head coach, Mohammed Baba Ganaru favours a back four which integrates Mustapha Musa (RB), Agwaza Daniel (LB), Nnaemeka Anyawu (CB) and Moses Tsehuan (CB).

Osita Uchendu shields the back four while Mohammed Shagari acts as the link and fulcrum between attack and defence.

Ali Aliyu, Buhari Musa and Philip Asuquo are the trio often delegated with the task of supplying the killer balls to Ohanachom who usually needs no second invitation to cause gnashing of teeth for many an opposition side.

If things do not go according to script, there is always the firepower of Chidiebere Ajoku to rely on from the bench.

Head coach of Yobe Desert Stars, Mohammed Baba Ganaru also spoke about his side’s expectations on Sunday.

“We will go all out to try to claim maximum points but we know we will be coming up against a very good Rivers United side,” he said.

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