Back-to-back home wins have seen Rivers United climb out of the relegation zone and an air of confidence returning back to the side who finished second in the Nigeria Professional Football League last season.
ABS FC were edged 2-0 by the pride of Rivers last Thursday despite having controlled the bulk of possession, the Saraki boys limited their hosts from creating clear-cut chances but were left to rue their lack of proper use of the ball and missed opportunities when Rivers United scored with their first shot on target.
For the umpteenth time this season at home, Rivers United struggled to breakdown the opposition team
Forwards; Bernard Ovoke, Emeka Ogbugh and Guy Kuemian led the attack that day but as has been the case in home matches this season, the trio struggled to go past the ABS FC defence with the ineffective Ovoke in particular subbed off after the hour mark.
Not even his replacement Daniel Israel nor the man signed from Niger Tornadoes at the end of last season, Lukman Mohammed who came on for the tired-looking Kuemian could add the spark the team needed.
With Ovoke struggling to replicate last season’s exploits and new signings Lukman Mohammed, Emeka Ogbugh yet to convince in attack with the number of games they have started, Bolaji Sakin’s performance against Abia Warriors should not go unnoticed by the technical crew of the Port Harcourt based side.
The ex-Abia Warriors player in his first start in front of the home fans this season showed glimpses of what he has to offer in an otherwise tepid performance by the Pride of Rivers.
It was Sakin’s mazy run which committed Abia Warriors’ Chinedu Efugh into conceding a penalty which led centre referee Aliyu Abdullahi with no choice than to point to the spot.
Sakin was the captain on the day against his former side in Festus Austine’s absence despite the legendary Sunday Rotimi starting in goal for Rivers United.
For a player who hasn’t been given too many opportunities at home this season, it makes one wonder the rationale behind him being selected as captain when he rarely even gets minutes (add the fact that he’s still a new player).
If Sakin can be trusted to Captain Rivers United against Wikki Tourists and Abia Warriors in the last few matches, then why hasn’t Technical Manager, Stanley Eguma showed the same confidence in starting him regularly.
Some might argue he (Sakin) was only in the starting lineup due to squad rotation with the match against Rayon Sport in the CAF Confederations Cup around the corner, but on the evidence of his showing against the side from Umuahia – Bolaji Sakin deserves to at least get a look in.
Photo Credit: RUFC Media