Posted by Victor Enyinnaya | 2 October 2016 | 1,655 times
As the 2016/2017 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) comes to an end today, Rangers International of Enugu are poised to break a 32-year jinx. But it will be one of the greatest upsets of the 21st Century, if El-Kanemi FC of Maiduguri picks even a point from their host today at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu in the last game of the season.
For some pundits, the feat for Rangers is a foregone conclusion and for others, the match can only be classified as won or lost after the last blast of the referees’ whistle. According to them, that Rangers is playing at home should not be interpreted to mean that they have grabbed this year’s NPFL diadem.
The Enugu league centre demands vigilance and carefulness on the part of the Flying Antelopes, if they would rejoice at the end of proceedings today.
However, with the performance of last week at Abeokuta against Ikorodu United, the former champions, who won their last league trophy in 1984 won’t leave any stone unturned to ensure that they show appreciation to the sporting Governor, His Excellency, Ifeanyichukwu Ugwuanyi of Enugu State. He has shown a great measure of commitment to the team since the season began. He made some drastic changes by injecting some sharper brains into the management of Rangers. These people have liaised beautifully with the technical crew. We started noticing different Rangers when these egg heads settled down to the club business. The rewarding period is now, and it must come to pass.
He will be walking tall today as the Flying Antelopes gallop to victory. There is nothing that would be sweeter than this trophy. Governor Ugwuanyi, the number one fan and other numerous fans have been thirsty for this moment. Coach Imama and his wards must give us this day.
An outright win is what Rangers must aim at, to tell all and sundry that last week’s victory against hard and fit-fighting Ikorodu United was not a fluke.
Other centres that would hold the aces for who occupies the second spot are the Lagos centre, where FC Ifeanyi Uba will square up against relegation threatened MFM FC. The Ilechukwu-tutored boys ran into this murky water after what transpired between them and visiting 3SC of Ibadan which attracted wide condemnations and curses because of the way and matter the NFF leadership handled the whole issue.
One can safely say that being at home against a team like the ambitious FC Ifeanyi Uba remains an abnormal setting. There will be no room for any rubbish from the referees except if FC Ifeanyi Uba has given up on their continental quest next year. Having missed the league title and in the finals of this year’s federation cup, the Nnewi boys will not like to dent their image no matter what MFM FC think they are. It is a dicey affair.
The other expectant game is the one involving Akwa United and Rivers United. On the relegation cadre, Heartland of Owerri will need more than the heart of a wounded lion, to survive their host, Plateau United. It is possible if they can wear the toga of their former self, Spartans and their never say die spirit and meet the boys from the high plateau with brute force. It is only outright victory and nothing else may see them escape if MFM loses or draws. Head or tail, the curtain for 2016/2017 leagues season draws today!
•Photo shows a Rangers player leaving his marker dazed in a match.
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