The newly built Awka City stadium inside the heart of Anambra state capital will be hosting one of the top-of-the-bill NPFL 2021/2022 fixtures as the ‘Flying Antelopes’, Rangers International F.C drag neighbors, Lobi Stars F.C to its adopted home ground with a target of annexing the maximum points at stake.
Still basking in the euphoria of the 3-0 victory over the league’s defending champions, Akwa United in Uyo, the coach Abdul Maikaba tutored lads are focused on keeping their new form with another resounding win over the visitors from Makurdi who suffered their second home loss at the weekend to Abia Warriors but mindful of avoiding any banana pills dropped by the new gaffer, Eugine Agagbe, and his boys.
If the current form guide is anything to hold onto going into this fixture, there would have been no basis for comparison but coach Maikaba appreciates the fact that no two games are the same and has sounded this into the ears of his players, saying, “I have told my players that no two games are the same and I am sure that we are fully prepared to get all three points at stake to make our title aspirations realistic. With a good pitch like the one we have at Awka City stadium, we shall be able to express ourselves well and hopefully, crown it with a harvest of goals.”
Fixtures between both former champions of the league have never lacked the end-to-end stuff of top-of-the-bill fixtures as has been recorded in the past fourteen encounters between season 2015 and 2020/2021 in which the Benue landlords have earned seven victories as against three by the ‘Flying Antelopes’ while four fixtures have been drawn with the visitors doing a double over Rangers in the 2017/2018 season, a 3-1 win in Makurdi and a 2-1 win at ‘The Cathedral’ a few weeks later.
However, this term, Rangers has been on fine form leading to this fixture with a W, W, D, D, L, W report card in the last six encounters scoring six times and letting in two goals while the visitors have been on a four-match losing streak with an unenviable, L, L, L, L, W, L report in its last six fixtures finding the opponent’ net thrice and getting breached at the back eight times.
Captain of Rangers, Tope Olusesi in an exclusive chat ahead of the fixture, said, “The expectations of everyone going into this fixture is total victory. It is going to be a difficult game because, Lobi Stars are a good side and right now, they are not in a good position on the log. So, losing back home last week, they will like to prove something here in Awka, tomorrow, but we are determined to win as we have no option but do that to enhance our chances of being crowned league champions at the end of the season.”
Also speaking, Rangers’ arrow-head in attack and former Lobi Stars’ striker, said, “With a very good pitch like what we have in Awka, I have the strong belief that we shall harvest a lot of goals against my former club, Lobi Stars. It is going to be a maximum three points for us. Our fans should keep the support as we are going to make them proud.”