Rangers International of Enugu will be pulling all the stops to ensure that the maximum points from the match day 34 fixture against the visiting ‘Kano Pillars is annexed to keep the hope of picking a continental ticket alive.
With the reflections of the ‘Asaba Miracle’ still playing around as well as other interesting encounters involving both sides very fresh in the minds of the club’ followers, the encounter at ‘The Cathedral’, Nnamdi Azikiwe stadium, Enugu today is expected to be a top-of-the table fixture.
Coach Salisu Yusuf, the Rangers gaffer is very positive going into this encounter with his former employers as he has charged his wards to up their game to get all the three points at stake stressing that Kano Pillars is not a small team by any rate.
“We are taking every game as a cup final and this won’t be an exception. I believe that we have done all we can to ensure that victory is achieved on Wednesday in Enugu. I expect a tough match from them but we have what it takes to get what we want,” stated the widely travelled and vastly experienced gaffer who once handled the ‘Sai Masu Gida’ side.
Also speaking ahead of the crunch tie, captain of the side and Super Eagles B player, Tope Olusesi, said, “Kano Pillars are a strong team but I believe that we have what it takes to get a win on Wednesday. The players are well motivated going into the match and with a little luck, we hope to keep the chase for a continental place intact.”
With 52 points from 33 matches in the ongoing NPFL 2020/21 season and placed 7th on the twenty team log, Rangers will shoot to the top four spot with a win on Wednesday even when their first meeting in Kaduna ended 1-1.
Smarting from a very painful 2-1 loss to Oriental rivals, Heartland over the weekend, Rangers coach will be looking to turn the tide as his former employers come to town while the players will have to look beyond the loss and up their game to get the maximum points at stake to bridge the gap between the ‘Flying Antelopes’ and the visitors.
Going down memory lane, encounters between both sides have never been easy for either of them as recorded in the 28 matches played between April 2, 2005 and March 7, 2021 with the Enugu side enjoying 13 victories as against 11 enjoyed by the ‘Groundnut Pyramid’ side with four encounters ending in draw.
The biggest win recorded in one of these encounters remains the 4-0 hammering received by the Kano side on April 28, 2013 with the only victory on the road by either side enjoyed by Kano Pillars just a little over a decade ago.
Both sides have enjoyed a rich vein of form at the home grounds but in the last six matches in the ongoing season, Rangers have a slight edge with three wins, two losses and a drawn game as against Pillars’ three wins and three losses.
On the personnel to deploy for the game, Rangers will most likely be welcoming back their midfield maestro, Tony Shimaga, youth prodigy, Nwobodo Chidiebere and top scorer, Christian Nnaji back into the match day squad just as the visitors will be relying on their mercurial ‘Midfield General’ and league legend, Rabiu Ali, David Ebuka, Okon Aniemeke and Nyima Nwagua to entertain the few fans expected inside the main bowl of Nnamdi Azikiwe stadium, Enugu.
Going into this fixture, Rangers are placed 7th on the 20 team log with 52 points while the visiting Kano Pillars occupy the 3rd position with 58 points from the same number of matches played.