Month: October 2016

Fans disappointed with Rangers victory parade

Players and coaching team of Nigerian Professional Football League champions Rangers International Football Club paraded streets of Enugu on Saturday, October 15, to celebrate their title after winning it for the first time in 32 years. It was celebration galore in the East, as the club supporters and teeming fans danced their way through the city to catch a glimpse of the trophy and victorious players. However, the mode with which the event took place amazed fans as the team members were conveyed in an open lorry and many have condemned the idea saying it is embarrassing for the status of the club.

The club management later apologized to their fans through their Twitter handle:

We are sincerely sorry for the embarrassment yesterday during our victory parade. God bless you all

— Rangers Int. FC (@RangersIntFC) October 16, 2016

El-Kanemi Warriors coach, Bosso calls on referee to apologize to goalkeeper

Source: http://dailypost.ng/2016/10/12/npfl-el-kanemi-warriors-coach-bosso-calls-referee-apologize-goalkeeper/

Head coach of El-Kanemi Warriors, Ladan Bosso, has called on the centre referee who officiated their match against Enugu Rangers, to apologize to his goalkeeper, Yekini Kazeem, for wrongful dismissal.

Kazeem was given a straight red card, after he was adjudged to have challenged Rangers’ striker, Ifeanyi Egwim, during the final fixture of last season’s Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).

Egwin, who came off the bench in the 81st minute of the encounter, was taken straight to hospital after fracturing his left shin

“I have been expecting the referee to come out publicly to apologise to the goalkeeper, Yekini Kazeem for wrongful dismissal in the final day match at Enugu Rangers,” Bosso told SuperSports.

“The apology is necessary to atone for the psychological trauma the goalkeeper have been going through especially now the referee must have seen that his decision was done in error.

“The practice in Europe is that referee usually come back to apologise to the victim for any faulty decision.

“You would have noticed that the referee made three costly mistakes in the clash all in favour of Enugu Rangers.

“We do not hope to challenge any of the mistakes as the better side won the match but the referee must come out to apologise for the red card so that the player will not carry over the punishment to the next season which will amount to double punishment.

“The League management Company (LMC) should compel the referee to do the needful to ensure the heavy burden on the player as a result of the red card is drastically reduced.

“The referee acted in error at least he must have taken a second look at the match video to appreciate the foolery of his action and must now atone for the mistake with a public apology.”

El-Kanemi Warriors finished in ninth place with 51 points.

Enugu Rangers begin trophy parade

Source: http://pulse.ng/sports/football/enugu-rangers-npfl-champions-begin-trophy-parade-id5597708.html

Rangers lifted the title on Sunday, October 2 after beating El Kanemi 4-0 at their home of Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium Enugu.

After lifting the 2016 Nigeria Professional Football League(NPFL) trophy, Enugu Rangers are to kick off their trophy parade on Thursday, October 13.

The Flying Antelopes needed only a point to win the league but tore their opponents apart to kick-off a slew of celebratory events in Enugu.

Officials of the club told Pulse Sports that the parade around the city of Enugu.

Enugu Rangers

According to sources, the parade will start at the State House and end at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium.

For the title win, a proposal has been sent to the Enugu State Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to reward the players with lands.

Speaking in an interview, the Enugu State Sports CommissionerCharles Ndukwe said land rewards are much better than cash and cars.

“Even if the person decides to sell it tomorrow, he gets a lot of money but you know we need to teach them financial discipline,” Ndukwe, told Complete Sports.

  “But if the governor decides to give them cash, fine and good. You know he has a large heart and whatever he’s going to give these boys he’ll bring to the exco where it will be discussed before execution.

Segun Odegbami on Enugu Rangers

As Enugu Rangers is crowned Nigeria League Champion, Mathematical Segun Odegbami writes a beautiful essay on Rangers!

 

The Nigerian football legend, Segun Odegbami gave the most vivid, factual and fluid description of the birth of Rangers International Football Club thus:

“With the end of the civil war in 1970, a “starved” East (Eastern Nigeria) came out roaring. A symbol of unity amongst the Igbos … It was as if the football club wanted to regain through football what the Igbo “lost” during the war”!

The team became very popular and was nicknamed the “coal city boys”. They wore an immaculate all-white jersey and their style of play was robust and direct – a complete contrast to the Brazilian pattern that Nigerian football was used to. Although football at that time was under the domination of clubs like Stationery Stores of Lagos and Mighty Jets of Jos, Rangers shot straight to national prominence and became a force to be reckoned with throughout the 1970s.

The team’s first noticeable qualities were leadership and discipline, and their first captain, Godwin Achebe was made Captain of the Nigerian National Team. His successor at the club, Christian Chukwu also became the national captain. That generation of Rangers, with goalkeeper Emmanuel Okala and no-nonsense centre-half Dominic Ezeani, among others like Chimezie Ngadi and Kenneth Ilodigwe, took Nigerian football by storm. Ogidi Ibeabuchi and Emeka Onyedika were fast on the wings while “Alhaji” Dominic Nwobodo and Mathias Obianika scored plenty of goals.

The only team that prevented Rangers from taking total domination of Nigerian football at that time was IICC Shooting Stars of Ibadan. Ibadan of course, was the capital of the western region, so IICC was really the symbol of the people of western Nigeria – the Yorubas.

The rivalry between Rangers and IICC is as legendary as that between Real Madrid and Barcelona. The Nigerian National Team, the Green Eagles (now Super Eagles) almost became the exclusive property of these two teams. Interestingly, the strongest point of that Super Eagles team was the telepathic understanding between Christian Chukwu and IICC’s playmaker Segun Odegbami on the field.

So, while the players fought like arch enemies when playing for their clubs, they remarkably put all that aside and played as one formidable unit in the national team. Christian Chukwu had a remarkable talent for placing accurate long range passes, and in most cases, the speedy Segun Odegbami on the right wing was his target.

Rangers were the masters of robust football, but the few known ball playing players in the team turned out to be quite spectacular. The best known of them was the left-footed Stanley Okoronkwo, followed by midfield general Christian Madu who was dragged back home from Ghana. The folklore then was that Stanley invented the “banana” shot.

Coached by Dan Anyiam, those guys won the Nigerian title, the “Challenge Cup”, got to the final of the African Cup of Champion Clubs in 1975 and then became African Champions via the Cup Winners Cup in 1977, following on the heels of IICC’s record feat the previous year.

Rangers’ players were dropped from the Super Eagles’ squad to the AFCON in 1976 due to the inability of the then FA to manage the conflicting schedules that required as much as seven Rangers players to shuttle between the national camp and club engagements at domestic and continental levels. Four years later, in 1980, Rangers’ stars returned in full force to help Nigeria win the African Nations Cup for the first time. Some of the dominant players of that historic feat include Chairman Chukwu (captain, from Rangers), Segun Odegbami (playmaker, from IICC), Emmanuel Okalla (goalie, Rangers), and Adokiye Amiesimaka (CMS Grammar School).

1977 was one year Nigerian soccer fans will not forget in a hurry. It was the year that the civil war resurfaced; not with bullets and guns, but on the football field. IICC won the national league but elected to defend their Africa Cup Winners Cup, thus pitching themselves against their local arch rivals. The build-up to the semi-finals was charged, horrific and worst of all, divisive. Rumours had it that players of both sides stopped speaking to each other in the national camp. Eventually, after a “ding-dong” battle in Kaduna, Rangers scraped through and subsequently won the continental trophy.

In the 1978 Challenge Cup final, Rangers suffered a humiliating defeat in the hands of a group of young kids playing for Bendel Insurance and coached by the original “Nigerian Guardiola”, Alabi Aisien. On that better forgotten afternoon, Henry Ogboe, Felix Agbonifo, Kadiri Ikhana and their co-“conspirators” drew rings round the world famous Rangers stars for 90 minutes and won comprehensively by 3-0.

The damage was done and that “disgrace” by Bendel Insurance became the beginning of the end of a truly great and majestic era of Nigerian football. Rangers was forced to change their style of play. A lot more emphasis was placed on ball playing skill when the new players were recruited. Chibuzor Ehilegbu, Sylvanus Okpalla, Kenneth Boardman and Okechukwu Obiora (a.k.a AgariMojo) were the most prominent of a crop of really skillful players of the new Rangers era. Also outstanding was Mike Emenalo (now at Chelsea FC) and Ben Okorogu, the schoolboy defender that was rated world-class but sadly died in the national camp.

The 1980 AFCON victory in Lagos saw Christian Chukwu and Emmanuel Okalla bow out in style, and a new chapter was soon to open with Stephen Keshi as national team captain and Patrick Okalla (yes, Okalla’s junior brother) as the national goalie.

The most significant transformation in the new Rangers was that, as the years went by, the memories and sadness of the civil war gradually faded away and Rangers became more and more “national” in content. Many players of non-Igbo origin were recruited. Adokiye Amiesimaka, a Rivers boy and sensational two-footed winger of the Nigerian national team was recruited to play for the team. Most teenagers of Igbo origin today will not even be aware that Rangers used to be the symbol of unity of their kinsmen way back in time. Worst still, they probably do not even know that Rangers was such a great team – the best in Nigeria.

Coach Imama Amakpakabo has led a crop of history-making players to restore Rangers to its rightful place as the Champions of Nigeria. I am not an Igbo man, but at a time like this, I will be very proud to be one.

Up Rangers !

And after 32years they finally broke the jinx.

Rangers International of Enugu Celebrate Title Win after 32 Years

It was celebration unlimited in Enugu as fans of Rangers International Football Club celebrate their NPFL (Nigeria Professional Football League) 2015/16 championship win. This is their seventh title but the first in 32 years after beating El-Kanemi Warriors of Maiduguri by 4 goals to nil. This feat equals Enyimba of Aba’s record as the team with the highest number of league titles

Rangers opened the scoring in the 3rd minute by Chisom Egbuchulam. It came through a penalty after Orji’s kick was handled in the box by ELkanemi defender Abraham Audu.
The capacity crowd inside the ‘Cathedral’ as the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium Enugu is affectionately called by the fans erupted with joy. In the 42nd minute, Obinna Nwobodo set up Osas Okoro for Rangers second goal. Egbuchulam added a third in the 63rd minute. Egbuchulam then added a 4th, and his hat-trick and 16th goal of the season from the penalty spot after Ifeanyi Egwim was adjudged to have been brought down by the El-Kanemi goalkeeper who was subsequently sent off. The victory was, however, bittersweet due to the serious injury sustained by Egwim

The tumultuous occasion was graced by the Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi who was joined by former Rangers stars like Chairman Christian Chukwu, Ben Ugwu, Kenneth Boardman, Davidson Owumi, Ndubusi Ajomiwe, Chinedu Ogbodo, Louis Igwilo and a host of others were on hand to drum up support for the Flying Antelopes.

 “We thank the God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob and the awesome God of David who made it possible that after 32 years in the wilderness, our prayers and dreams came true and Rangers International Football Club of Enugu are Champions again. We pray that they remain champions for a long time in Jesus Name. Amen.” Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi victory speech