By Kelvin Obambon
Rovers Football Club, Calabar on Sunday secured bragging rights over Giant Brillars of Enugu in a thrilling encounter that ended 2-0 at the U.J. Esuene Stadium, Calabar.
Both teams came into the game with expectation of outperforming each other; and despite the fact that Rovers dominated the first half, they could not convert the several chances that came begging for goal.
In some cases the ball was either shoot wide, intercepted by Brillars backline or saved by goalkeeper Ateghoto Orya, who was almost in top form. The away team also had one or two close calls truncated by Rovers goalie, Isah Ismaila. All these happened in the first half of play, which ended on a barren note.
As the whistle heralded the second half, Rovers upped the ante; this time taking the bargaining to the visitors’ goal mouth, which often unsettled their defense without getting yet the desired result.
The introduction of Daniel Josiah and Eni Daniel into the second half reinvigorated the team as both players collaborated well to connect a pass to Ndukwu Chukwu, who had strategically placed himself inside Giant Brillars’ box just at the 76th minute to shoot the ball into the net when Orya least expected.
The goal, however, triggered the adrenaline level in Coach Afeez Sulaiman’s lads, thereby forcing them to muster all their firepower on an equalizing mission, while leaving behind a lacuna which Eni Daniel soon capitalized on after a crossing pass was laid to him in the 86th minute.
Eni’s goal consolidated the homers grip on the match as they switched to a comfortable position that enable them to neutralize further aggression from the Brillars upfront, until the hissing of the final whistle.
Speaking shortly after the encounter, Rovers Head Coach, Samuel Asuquo, said he was confident that his boys would win the match.
The Coach lauded the team for putting up such a brilliant performance, even as he acknowledged that “Giant Brillars are good side.”
However, the Coach of Giant Brillars FC, Afeez Sulaiman, was not available for post match interview because he left the stadium immediately the final whistle sounded. His assistant, Coach Udeze Stephen, declined to comment, saying he was not authorized to speak.
Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary, Security, Dr Alfred Mboto, who was the special guest of honour, has said that individuals and corporate organizations have a key role to play in the development of football in the state.
Dr Mboto who was reacting to the win by Rovers, drummed support for the club, saying “Football should not be left for government alone. Private sector should come in and support the team. This is the surest way of bringing majority of our youths to get themselves engaged. Why we are having all this insecurity is because many of them don’t have anything to do. So if we can sponsor and make a team like this, I think it would go a long way to address some of these issues.”
He also commended the players for giving a good account of themselves on the pitch.
“It was a well played match. Rovers have done very well. They had the game. If not for the missed chances, I think the scorelines would have been higher than what we have.”, Mboto said.
With today’s win, Rovers FC now have 14 points from 8 matches. They also have one outstanding match against Ekiti United.
Rovers next game will be against Go Round FC at Krisdera Stadium, Omoku on April 3rd, while Giant Brillars will be hosted by Osun United on the same date.