By Kelvin Obambon
Ahead of it opening match in the Nigeria National League season, Rovers Football Club, Calabar, on Tuesday, held fellow second-tier side, Abia Comets to a 1-1 draw in a friendly encounter at the U.J. Esuene Stadium, Calabar.
First half of the game started off on a promising note due to one or two early chances created by Rovers. These chances, however, were not converted into goals, as the first half ended goalless.
49th minute into second half, Abia Comets had their goal through Kayode Agboola, who capitalized on a minor defect in Rovers’ backline. The visitors’ joy was short-lived as a leveller came the way of Rovers in the 50th minute after Cosmos Eberemu completed a series of passes that menaced the opponent’s defense.
The remaining minutes of the second half saw both teams struggling to have the upper hand. As pressure piled up, the game slowly switched into a mid-field battle which dragged on until the final whistle.
Rovers’ friendly with Abia Comets may be the last in series of engagements preparatory to Sunday’s away fixture with Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) of Ibadan, which marks the commencement of the 2020/2021 NNL season.
Meanwhile, in a post match interview, Rovers’ Technical Adviser, Samson Unuanel, explained that the friendly game was to assess the team’s strategy when playing away.
He said “It was a match we really tested our away format in the first half, since we didn’t have the opportunity of playing away. There are different patterns of game – you play home, you play away. In the second half of the game we came out with our home format. So far so good, you saw the difference. Away is to soak pressure, while home is to attack. You attack at away systematically, while home you do it with caution. That’s exactly what we have done. It’s good and I love it. It shows that we have been working and God has been helping us.”
Coach Unuanel urged Cross Riverians to pray for Rovers, while adding that the team will do everything humanly possible to glorify the club.
Rovers will depart Calabar for Oyo State on Friday ahead of the clash with 3SC scheduled for Sunday 14th February at the Dipo Dinu Stadium, Ijebu-Ode, by 4pm.