The Nigerian champions, who are also the country’s remaining team in CAF inter-club competitions this season, were recently rewarded with more than N700 million following their historic feat in the 2021/22 season.

En route to the league title, Rivers United set a new Nigerian record for title wins by finishing with 77 points from 38 games, holding a record 10-point gap over runners-up Plateau United.

With the new season in an abbreviated format where the 20 teams are drawn into two groups of 10 with the top three of each qualifying for a Super 6 playoff, Festus has stated that his team will start their season ‘early ‘.

“We have tasted what it is to be champions, and we want to do it again, even in the Confederations Cup. We want to make the people of Rivers State happy, and everyone in Nigeria too,” the center-back said in an interview. with NTA and obtained by Pulse Sports.

“What I do tell my teammates is to always be ready. This is an abbreviated league and the kind where you don’t want to wait until week 5 or 10 before picking your form.

“We have to start now to get in shape and deny ourselves things that derail our performance. We are professionals, we know the importance of victory.”

Kano Pillars were the last team to win back-to-back Nigerian league titles, achieving a treble between 2012 and 2014.

In their first game of the season, the Pride of Rivers host Markurdi’s Lobi Stars at Port Harcourt’s Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, and the 33-year-old is confident in what he can do.

“We will not only be participants, but we will return to take the trophy. We know the joy of being champions, I’m happy when people call me champion. We are going to do well”, said Festus in a final. message to the club’s fans.

Rivers United is drawn into Group B of the 2023 NPFL Regular Season with Lobi Stars, Abia Warriors, Bayelsa United, Dakkada, Doma United, Niger Tornadoes, Rangers, Sunshine Stars and Wikki Tourists.