As the chase for the 2021/2022 NPFL title chase hots up, the ‘Flying Antelopes’, Rangers International F.C will this weekend trade tackles with visiting Sunshine Stars F.C of Akure with the sole plot of dimming the shine of the Stars by annexing all three points at stake.
The matchday 23 fixture will happen at the Awka City stadium, the adopted home ground of the Enugu landlords on Saturday, April 16, 2022, with kickoff fixed for 4.00 pm.
In an exclusive chat, technical adviser for Rangers, coach Abdul Maikaba said that his team was in the best shape to nip the three points at stake to ensure that the club’s targets are realized at the end of the season.
“Sure, no two matches are the same but I have the strong belief that we shall emerge victorious in the game against Sunshine Stars. I know that they made some mid-season recruitments including a new coach, but we are determined to get the result we desire,” said the vastly experienced gaffer.
Maikaba further said, “In our first meeting, it ended goalless but we are not letting that result get into our head as we are focused on playing our normal game on a very good pitch to achieve the result we need.”
Recall that in the reverse fixture, the encounter ended goalless as the Akure boys did not yield any ground to pressures from the visiting side in a match played inside Dipo Dina Stadium, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun state in a matchday 3 encounter.
Rangers are currently placed 3rd on the log with 37 points from 22 matches while the visiting Akure side, under a new gaffer, Cameroonian, Emmanuel Duetcsh are occupying the 6th spot with 32 points from 22 matches.
Smarting from the 2-1 loss in Aba to Enyimba International F.C in an ‘Oriental Derby’, the home side is poised to nip the three points at stake to bridge the gap between it and the pacesetters, Rivers United and Plateau United who are on 49 and 45 points respectively.
Going by both clubs’ forms in the last six matches which reads thus; L, W, L, W, W, W for the ‘Flying Antelopes’, Rangers International F.C and W, L, W, L, W, L for the ‘Owena Whales’, Sunshine Stars, the die is cast for the 29th cumulative encounters between both sides with Rangers having a slight edge of twelve wins as against Sunshine’ nine while seven fixtures have ended in draws.
Rangers will be counting on the striking prowess of the trio of Elijah Ani, Christian Nnaji, and Ossy Martins to dislodge the expected defense wall of the visiting side to be anchored on Anioke, Dauda, Nwaiwu, and Awosanmi while the visitors will be looking to cause some anxious moments for Rangers backline with Ejike Uzoechi, Austin Ogunye and Leonard Ugochukwu leading the assault.
Rangers midfielder, Kenechukwu Agu, who has been impressive all season long said that he and his teammates appreciate the task at hand and will put in their very best to get all the points at stake stressing, “We are going to give our best to ensure that the three points are ours at the end of the encounter. Sunshine Stars are a good side and have been doing good lately but we are in the right frame of mind to make our supporters proud.”