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Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Abia derby: Finidi George’s NPFL credentials begin today

Enyimba manager, Finidi George will today make his debut in the Nigeria Professional Football League when the Peoples’ Elephant battle Abia Warriors in the famed Abia derby in Match Day 1 of the 2021/22 season.

George, a former Super Eagles winger was appointed in September and has overseen victories in the continental games to the delight of the fans.

It’s the first league outing for new manager George Finidi, who will be hoping to continue the tradition of getting a win against their ‘noisy neigbhours’ in Aba.

The eight-time NPFL champions are the more in-form team, having earlier won three-straight Confed Cup games since the start of the 2021/22 campaign, while Warriors are yet to play a competitive game.

Speaking to the press when he was appointed, the former Ajax Amsterdam and Real Betis winger said he’s happy to get the job and will everything humanly possible to achieve success with the team.

“We will make sure that we start on a clean slate, it’s always important to start very well because if you don’t start well doubts may arise if the team is good enough or not.

“So the immediate goal here is to start very well and prepare, and make sure we start winning games from the onset. I know by the grace of God we will have a good season,” he said then.

In an exclusive interview with www.busybuddiesng.com, the 50-year-old tactician added that senior members of his squad understand the enormity of playing in the Abia Derby.

“Tomorrow we have our first match,” he noted. “I think it’s going to be one of the games that we will play this season.

“It’s a derby and the players know what it takes. Those that are here two years ago or three years ago, they know what it takes to play a derby, especially when it is the first game (of the season). So, they will give all their best and see how we can get a good result.

“The game will be played on the field, so, we might do all the talking, but at the end of the day, the actors will do their job, and hopefully, we would get a good result.”

Enyimba have dominated this match up in recent years as they have won the last six, conceding just two goals while the Imama Amakapabo led Abia Warriors will have a herculean task ahead of them after losing Adeleke Adekunle, Ojo Olorunleke, Fatai Abdullahi to their opponents.

Meanwhile, Akwa United and Kano Pillars will face off in a heavyweight clash today in Uyo as the Promise Keepers begin their title defence but a seven-match winning streak against Sai Masu Gida will give the hosts some confidence.

There is another derby, the North-Central derby as Niger Tornadoes host Plateau United while former international Eddy Dombraye begins his coaching journey at Lobi Stars in the league with a clash with Stanley Eguma’s Rivers United.

In the other fixtures, Heartland will host Nasarawa United at the Dan Anyiam Stadium while in Akure, it will be a Sunshine Stars against Wikki Tourists.

In the battle of the newly promoted sides, Gombe United will host Shooting Stars at the Pantami Stadium in Gombe while Kwara United will begin the season at the Kwara Sports Complex against Dakkada FC and Enugu Rangers will face off with Katsina United in Katsina.

I'm an avid and seasoned sports/ multimedia journalist. I have a biased love for Real Madrid and passionate advocate for the overall growth of the Nigeria Sports Project. I can be reached on 09077894123 or/and '[email protected]'

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