Rivers United manager Stanley Eguma left former Super Eagles defender Azubuike Egwuekwe on the bench as The Pride of Rivers humbled 10-man Abia Warriors 1-0 in the opening fixture of the ongoing Governor Okowa Preseason Cup at Stephen Keshi Stadium Asaba on Wednesday night, Completesports.com reports.
Bakari Bamba, an Ivorian forward struck on 81 minutes as Rivers raced to a winning start in the 10-team championship.
Abia Warriors defensive midfielder, Fatai Abdullahi was sent off for dissent as Rivers United made their numerical advantage count.
Egwuekwe, who is returning to the domestic scene after spells at KUPS of Finland (2016-2017), Super Sport United (2017), Al Nasr of Libya (2018-2019) was left on the bench throughout the entire duration of the opening game.
Egwuekww, 30, won the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations title with the Super Eagles in South Africa. He also feafured in that year’s FIFA Confederation Cup in Brazil and in the home-based Super Eagles’ bronze medal win at the 2014 Championship for Africa Nations (CHAN) in Cape Town.
In the second match of the afternoon in the Governor Okowa Preseason Cup on Wednesday, Kwara United and Remo Stars played out a scoreless draw at the Stephen Keshi Stadium.
Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) 1st Vice President, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi, was amongst the cheering spectators at the stadium, giving huge credibility to the tournament organised by one of Nigeria’s youngest club managers, Bash Badawiy who was recently appointed as General Manager of Kwara United, a second tier league club.
The Governor Okowa Preseason Cup is part of a commitment to development through football, including a life skills seminar that highlights and offers insight into how to cope with some of the challenges footballers are likely to encounter during their transition.
“We are in for a thrilling tournament,” Tournament Coordinator Badawiy Bashir said.
“For the opening day, the fans turnout was very encouraging, and we expect to see many more trooping to the Stadium over the next seven days to enjoy the best footballers in the country showcasing their talent.”
Lobi Stars will take on Cynosure FC today (Thursday) while Delta Force will make their debut in an all NPFL clash against MFM FC of Lagos.
Bendel Insurance and Remo Stars will take to the pitch at 4pm in the third but last fixture of the day.
Governor Okowa Preseason Cup 2019: The Groups/Teams
Source: Complete Sports