Seven-time Nigeria League champions, Rangers International F.C will this weekend strive to continue the fine form that has seen it maintain a top-three position in the 2021/2022 NPFL season as the coach Abdul Maikaba tutored side to target the scalp of visiting Kano Pillars F.C complete with immediate past technical adviser of Rangers, coach Salisu Yusuf.
The encounter, scheduled to take place at the ‘Flying Antelopes’ adopted home ground, F.C Ifeanyi Ubah Stadium, Ozubulu road, Nnewi, is a matchday 15 fixture and will see the coach Maikaba unleashing his fearsome squad on the visiting ‘Sai Masu Gida’ side that has been finding it difficult getting the results needed in the past five match days.
With Christian Nnaji and Elijah Ani firing from all cylinders upfront with Kenechukwu Agu, Chidiebere Nwobodo, and Samuel Pam pulling the strings in the middle of the pack, and resolute defending from Tope Olusesi, David Chimezie, Olawale Doyeni, and Ifeanyi Nweke providing the expected cover at the back, fans of the Enugu side are assured of another good win.
For the visiting side under the immediate past coach of the ‘Flying Antelopes’, Salisu Yusuf, he will be counting on Yusuf Maigoro, Mark Daniel, Ifeanyi Eze to help his side with the goals while Timothy Danladi, Okon Aniemeke, Gabriel Jeremiah, and former Rangers, Godspower Aniefiok will be working in the middle of the pack with Tamara Ezekiel and Ismaila Nasir leading others from the back to provide enough cover for either Joshua Enaholo or Idris Ibrahim to prevent a harvest of goals by the home side.
Going into this encounter, the Enugu landlords are in the 3rd position of the twenty team log with 23 points from 14 matches, 6 wins, 5 draws, and 3 losses, scoring 15 goals while leaking in six times at the back just as the visiting side, Kano Pillars are placed 14th on the log with 17 points from fourteen matches, 5 wins, 2 draws and 7 losses, scoring 8 goals and conceding 13 times.
Coach Abdul Maikaba said ahead of the fixture, “We are psychologically and physically ready for the encounter which I believe will be tough but our eyes are set for the maximum points. Yes, I appreciate the fact that the coach I took over from will be leading our opponent for this match and that makes it more interesting. We shall play our normal game and hope for the best.”
Also speaking ahead of the crunch fixture, captain of the ‘Flying Antelopes’, Tope Olusesi, said, “Kano Pillars F.C is a good side any day but we are well motivated to do the needful for the maximum points at stake. We are aware of the fact that our former coach will be leading them for this encounter and that makes it more interesting as we have some new players that he will be learning their tricks in the match hence, that will be an advantage for us. I have a very strong belief that we shall get the three points at stake.”
Last season, 2020/2021 NPFL season, the Enugu landlords had the bragging rights over the ‘Sai Masu Gida’ side with a home win and an away draw in Kaduna under coach Salisu Yusuf who will be leading the visitors on this trip just as encounters between these two crowd-pulling sides have never ceased to live up to its billings as far back as 2015 through 2021, twelve matches have taken place with Rangers enjoying five victories as against three for Pillars while four encounters ended in a draw.
The ‘Asaba Miracle’ of 2018 in which the ‘Flying Antelopes’ came from a 3-0 deficit to draw level in the last seventeen minutes of that year’s Aiteo Cup to be crowned champions always reverberates whenever a fixture of this nature comes to the table and the fireworks are expected to be ignited on Saturday, February 26, 2022.