The City of Akure is brimming with loads of excitement ahead of Sunday’s Nigeria Professional Football League match between Sunshine Stars FC and Lobi Stars FC as the 2016/17 league resumes after a month’s break.
The week 20 clash between these two traditionally strong side in the NPFL has been dubbed the battle of familiar foes, giving the movement of players, coaches and administrators between the sides.
The vice chairman of Lobi Stars, Mike Idoko had in the past functioned in administrative capacity for the home side as well as Coach Solomon Ogbeide, who will lead the Ortom boys against his most recent former employers.
No fewer than 5 former players of Sunshine Stars are now on the books of Lobi with Samad Quadri the most recent player to leave Akure for the State that pride’s itself as the Food Basket of the Nation.
Meanwhile, the spotlight will be on former Super Eagles player and Coach Austin Eguavoen, who has so far maintained a perfect record since replacing Kayode Olujohungbe as gaffer of Sunshine Stars.
Eguavoen recorded a 2-0 win over champions, Enugu Rangers in his first and only league outing with the side so far, and won the Ondo FA Cup with his side scoring three goals in two matches and keeping a clean sheet against Peacemakers and Moyero FC respectively.
However all the recent achievements of the Sapele born tactician have been replaced with huge expectations of survival going into the second half of the season.
A Good outing against Lobi Stars will sure lay a good marker for the rest of the season for him and his team, that has seen a lot of changes in playing personnel during the mid season break.
The return of academy alumnus, Dayo Ojo and capture of highly rated Beninese defender, Rock Thuram from Curepipe Starlight SC of Mauritius headlined a busy mid season transfer window which also facilitated the return of another academy graduate, Seun Olulayo.
Six other players moved to the Akure outfit while four players exited Sunshine with five players drafted to the feeders team.
It is a game with much stake for both teams as Eguavoen’s side will obviously play for maximum points to climb up the NPFL ladder while his Edo State brother, Ogbeide seeks to do the double over his former team and build on the gains in the first half of the season.
Tony Okpotu’s hat-trick against his former team settled the first meeting between these two sides in the last game of the First Stanza in Makurdi.
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