On a Sunday evening at Remo Stars Stadium in Ikenne, whether beneath a serene blue sky, basking in the warm embrace of sunshine, or amidst a gentle rainfall, the air is filled with the symphony of fervent chants, the blaring of vuvuzelas, the dazzling burst of fireworks, and an electrifying cacophony of passion.
This Sunday marks Derby Day as Remo Stars graciously open their gates to their rivals, Sporting Lagos, in what promises to be an exhilarating South West Derby. Roll up, Roll Up.
The Nigeria Premier Football League weekend has arrived, heralding a time of jubilation, intense drama, exhilarating thrills, spectacular goals, touchline spectacles. And if you seek a match venue that embodies all these elements, look no further than Remo Stars Stadium this Sunday.
Just like there are so many London derbies, Remo Stars against Sporting Lagos is not the only southwestern derby, but this one will always be one to look forward to. There is a growing rivalry between both teams that it will eventually become one of the fiercest Derby in the future.
Sunday’s game will mark the inaugural league encounter between the two teams. The simmering rivalry between them has been stoked through previous clashes in pre-season tournaments, the Naija Super 8 competition and the ValueJet Cup.
Remo Stars vs Sporting Lagos: The quick hits
- Remo Stars have never lost a South West Derby since their return to the top-flight in 2021
- Apart from Bendel Insurance, Sporting Lagos remains the only team yet to concede a goal this season.
- Remo Stars are the first team to win a game away this season
Throwing it back to one of the South West derbies in 2010, Sports Editor, Enitan Obadina shares the most fierce he had seen, and the ‘derby’ moment for him.
“ Shooting Stars vs Sunshine stars. Gbolahan Salami was the star of the show and he had an axe to grind with Sunshine stars coach back then. Historically both sides have been behaving like eternal enemies so the atmosphere was tense. Salami scored a brace and verbally attacked his former coach Gbenga Ogunbote, who was the coach of Sunshine stars. He received a two match ban after the game. It took a few officials to hold him down.’’
What’s a derby without such drama? It’s what we yearn for in fixtures like this.
Away from all that, now to the game.
Sporting Lagos may have not conceded a goal this season, they also may have a good edge over Remo stars in terms of head to head, but this is going to be a different scene. Remo stars over the years have made their home ground a fortress, and it would take a very solid and stark performance to edge Remo Stars.
Of course, as a Remo Stars supporter or a neutral, you would most likely expect Coach Daniel Ogunmodede to hand Coach Paul Offor a ”welcome to the NPFL kind of loss’’, but this is football, and the tides may be Paul Offor handing Daniel Ogunmodede a loss, and proving that the pre season wins over Remo are not fluke, but authoritative statements.
Both managers have always set out their teams nicely with beautiful tactical inputs, and play deccently, but winning derbies go beyond tactical inputs even though that contributes the larger part.
Players to Watch Out for?
Sikiru Alimi has found his goalscoring boots, and of course his prowess can never be underplayed, Sporting Lagos defenders will have to be on high alert to silence Alimi on Sunday evening.
Full backs Ismail Sodiq and Seun Ogunribide can be a handful down the wings for any team and of course that will be a zone Sporting Lagos may have to cancel out.
Kayode Bankole may have looked shaky in games this season, but if returned to the starting XI after being dropped last Match Day, he can save Remo when needed.
Jonathan Alukwu has been a bright spark in attack for the Lagos side this season although yet to score, majority of Sporting Lagos’ attacking threats have been channeled through him. Junior Lokosa should all day, everyday be fearsome to any defence.
Christian Nwoke, Sporting Lagos’ goalkeeper can also save points for his team when being called upon, also somehow knows how to save Penalties perhaps if Remo gets one.
For Sporting Lagos, this is where they want to be. Under the eyes of the country’s top division, as the crowd trudges in.
The first real ferocious test against Remo may well set the tone for life in the big time, and how that life will lead.
Ikenne be ready, Derby day is here.