NPL chairman Davidson Owumi is expecting fireworks this weekend when the Premier League’s Garden City rivals Sharks and Dolphins confront each other at the Sharks Stadium.
Despite being both under the control of the Rivers State government, a fierce, sometimes violent rivalry brews nonstop between both teams.
Owumi, who turned out for Sharks in his playing days, is well aware of the potential sparks that could fly, and has warned both sides that the NPL will be keeping a close watch on proceedings.
“We expect a very testy game because Sharks have just two points so far, while Dolphins will be trying to keep their unbeaten record in the league,” Owumi said.
“I know how difficult these games can be, and the current situation makes it even harder.
“But we expect these two teams to play by the rules, and the fans to behave themselves.
“We will be keeping a close watch on the match and we will not hesitate to apply stiff sanctions on anybody who is found to have acted in a way that brings the game into disrepute.
“So we urge both teams to control both their players and their supporters and give Nigerians and the rest of Africa a fantastic derby game that we can be proud of, and may the better side win.”
The game is one three live televised matches of the week, and will be on SuperSport 9.
Last season in the derby at the Sharks Stadium, the encounter ended goaless even though Sharks had two hotly disputed penalties that were saved by Dolphins’ goalkeeper, Sunday Rotimi.
There were also reports that journalists at the stadium were harassed by social miscreants (area boys) and their video recordings of the game confiscated.