Rivers United defender Ifeanyi Anaemena is certain of “a positive result” against Kano Pillars when both sides clash in the concluding fixture of Nigeria Professional Football League matchday six on Wednesday.
Rivers United travel to the Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna – Pillars’ temporary home – looking to avoid back-to-back defeats on the road following last week’s reverse at Wikki Tourist, their only defeat of the domestic season so far.
Pillars, themselves are in great form at their temporary base having won both of their home games this season without conceding a goal and will be looking to bounce back from defeat at Enyimba in matchday 5.
The encounter against the four-time league champions leaves Anaemena with no illusions as to the enormity of the challenge they face but the former Giwa centre back says his side will be up for the challenge and insists they’re not in Kaduna for a “jamboree”.
“It’s going to be a tough game, knowing that Rivers United has been in a very good shape and Kano Pillars is a very good side that they try to dominate when it comes to their home. So I think it’s going to be a massive one but truthfully I have to be certain that we are going to come out with a positive result at the end of it,” the Super Eagles defender told the club’s website.
“It’s a very important game because we know what is at sake, we are not here for a jamboree as our coach will always say.”
Victory on Wednesday will see Rivers United reclaim their spot at the top of the table from Nasarawa United who are two points clear having played a game more and returning to the top, Anaemena says, is a major motivation for his side to leave Kaduna with all three points.
“To be honest the match is very important for us because you know the pedigree of Rivers United at the moment and we try to maintain it being a team playing in [the CAF Confederation Cup] and secondly, we are second on the log, Nasarawa is ahead of us and for us to get back to the top of the table, we will need to win the game.
“We need this match to get back to the table and make sure that we demolish Adamawa United after this game by the weekend. This match is so important to us to keep our winning streak up, we really need to win this match.”
The defender joined Stanley Eguma’s side on a free transfer from Enyimba in the off season as part of a massive recruitment drive clearly aimed at ending the club’s decade-long trophy drought.
It’s a move that appears to be inspired with the Pride of Rivers starting the season in barnstorming fashion and looking in good shape to win a first trophy since they metamorphosed from Dolphins FC to Rivers United.
They face Enyimba in a two-legged qualifier for a place in the group stage of the Confederation Cup and look well equipped to mount a challenge for the NPFL title this season.
Their performances have seen heightened expectations from fans of the club hoping to see some form of silverware return to Port Harcourt come season’s end. The expectations have ramped up pressure on the team, but it’s pressure Anaemena welcomes and believes will help the team thrive.
“We have been doing well in CAF and it’s a good one for the team Rivers United, the expectation is too high for Rivers United both in CAF and the NPFL and I think there is so much pressure on the team, the only thing is that you know to get to the top is easy but to maintain yourself when you get to the top is anything.
“So, we are trying to make sure we maintain the tempo and keep our winning streak up. It always a very good outing for us whenever we play away. I think we are good when we are at away playing so we are going to make sure that we get a good result here in Kaduna in other to keep our winning streak up.”