Rivers United will subdue the Angolans – Elegbeleye

Rivers United will subdue the Angolans – Elegbeleye
Credit: Icon Sport

The Chairman of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) Hon Gbenga Elegbeleye is confident Rivers United will snatch all three points in Luanda as they push to qualify for the knockout phase of the CAF Confederation Cup.

Rivers United will play their fifth group stage fixture of the competition against Angolan side Académica do Lobito in Luanda on Sunday, 25 February 2024.

The team knows they have to pick maximum points in this game to stand a chance of qualification. The first meeting between these sides ended 3-0 in favour of Rivers United.

Speaking to NPFL media ahead of the Rivers United CAF Confederation Cup, Elegbeleye said:

“Rivers United have recently established that they are a team to reckon with on the continent after reaching the group stage of the competition for two consecutive seasons.

“Going by their performance so far, I am confident they will subdue the Angolans to take all three points and consolidate their chances of reaching the knockout stage.”

Kazie Godswill in action for Rivers United in CAFCC
Kazie Godswill of Rivers United challenges Manuel Cachindele of Academica during the CAF Confederation Cup First Leg. Credit: Icon Sport

In addition, the NPFL Chairman charged Stanley Eguma's side to approach the match with the upbeat attitude of the Nigerian Super Eagles which was showcased in the recently concluded Africa Cup of Nations.

“You have to continue to ride the momentum that the Super Eagles set off in Abidjan to keep the nation’s flag among the best of clubs on the continent”.

Rivers United are out to make Nigeria proud

The club remains the only NPFL side left in CAF competitions this season following the failures of the NPFL title holders Enyimba, Remo Stars, and Bendel Insurance on the continent. All three teams failed to make it to the group stage.

After reaching the quarter-finals of the CAF Confederation Cup in their first attempt in the competition last campaign, Rivers United are aiming to qualify for the knockout stage in consecutive seasons.

However, standing in their path to sealing a spot in the next round are Académica do Lobito and Dreams FC. If the team can pick up maximum points in these two matches they'll assuredly qualify for the knockout stage of the CAF Confederation Cup.

As it stands, Club Africain and Dreams FC occupy 1st and 2nd spots in Group C with 9 points each. Rivers United with 6 points hold 3rd position, while Academica do Lobito sit bottom on zero points.

Can Nyima Nwagwa keep his hot streak on for Rivers United in Angola?

Rivers United captain Nyima Nwagwa in action for the club
Credit: Icon Sport

Rivers United's gigantic attacking midfielder and captain Nyima Nwagwa, was in imperious form for the club in their last league game.

Nwagwa proved to be the difference maker for the Pride of Rivers as they played out an entertaining 3-2 win over NPFL title contenders Doma United in Port Harcourt with the 30-year-old scoring a hattrick for Stanley Eguma's side to become the first NPFL player to bag three goals in the second half of the current league campaign.

The midfielder has notched six goals for the club since December 2023 across all competitions, and will look to find the back of the net for the 2021 NPFL champions as they take on the Angolan side on Sunday evening.

The match kicks off at 5 PM Nigerian time. Concerned fans can watch the game live on CAF TV platform on YouTube or check for live updates through the club's handle on X (formerly Twitter).

This article was most recently revised and updated 2 months ago

Joseph is a graduate engineer turned sports writer, he has covered lots of sports stories, match previews and predictions across various leagues on the planet.