By Chibuogwu Nnadiegbulam
Rivers United forward Malachi Ohawume is hoping that the victory against Rangers International on Wednesday at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Elekahia, Port Harcourt, will mark a significant turnaround for the Pride of Rivers in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) 2019/20 season.
It took the forward only two minutes to make a huge impact in the midweek encounter as his first goal of the 2019/20 NPFL campaign turned out to be the winner in his side’s 2-1 victory over the Flying Antelopes.
“You know Rangers are a tough team, it was a tough game, and you know they are on the continent, so our coach told us to try our best and do anything possible to win this match. At the end of the day we won the match, so I’m very, very happy and excited,” Ohawume told www.npfl.ng after the game.
Ohawume revealed that Coach Stanley Eguma had told them (the substitutes) during their pre-match meeting to “watch and see where we can capitalize” when they are called upon to change the game.
After coming on in the second half, with 18 minutes left to play, Ohawume combined so well with Nelson Esor – who had come on nine minutes prior – to threaten the Rangers defence. Before his goal, Ohawume served a cross to Esor inside the visitors’ penalty area, but the move was well defended.
On another occasion after the goal, both parties engaged in an eye-catching interchange of passes in their bid to penetrate their opponents’ defence, but Esor was eventually tackled and dispossessed in the process. “I like playing with Esor because he knows how to keep the ball,” Ohawume said.
Last season, Rivers United only escaped relegation on the final day, and prior to the game against Rangers this season, they could only boast an underwhelming one goal and two points in three games.
However, they have been able to steady the ship in the meantime with the victory over the Flying Antelopes, scoring more than one goal in a game for the first time since May. But only subsequent matches would tell if their recurring goal scoring problems have been banished, starting with a trip to unbeaten Warri Wolves on Sunday.
“In football anything is possible, Beating them (Warri Wolves) at their home, is possible. We can do it. Today (Wednesday), I scored my first goal of the season so I believe that in our upcoming matches I will score more,” Ohawume concluded.
With the win against Rangers, Rivers United climbed from 15th to ninth on the NPFL log with five points from four matches, one point and two places behind their next opponents, Warri Wolves.