As the NPFL 2021/2022 season gradually approaches the finish line with teams fighting to maintain their prized positions on the log while some others fight to avoid the drop, Rangers International F.C is set to return to winning ways as league leaders, Rivers United come visiting this weekend to Awka for a re-arranged match day 34 fixture at the Awka City stadium on Saturday, June 18, 2022.
The ‘Pride of Rivers’ as the visitors are called, are occupying the prime position on the log with 70 points while the ‘Flying Antelopes’, Rangers are placed third with 51 points as at the end of match day 33 encounters and there is much to play for from both sides that parades quality players in their ranks.
Technical adviser of the home side, coach Abdul Maikaba, after the team’s last training session in Awka, Friday, assured the club’s numerous supporters that the team has overcome the curve and is positioned to get back to winning ways even if the opponent is coming with an imposing form this season.
“Naturally, this is a top-of-the-table encounter and my players have shown that threat and determination to return to winning ways after some not too impressive results from our last two fixtures. With what was on display in our last training, I am positive going into the match with Rivers United and I believe that we shall get the result we work for at the end of the match,” stated a vastly experienced gaffer.
He further said, “We are not unmindful of what Rivers United is bringing for this encounter, the best-attacking side, the best defensive side with one of the leading scorers of the season and we respect them for all that but by no means intimidated as we shall play our normal game with a firm belief that we shall get the result that we need at the end of the day. Our target is the maximum points and by God’s grace, we shall get it at the end of the match.”
Tope Olusesi, captain of the Enugu side, said, “We know that Rivers will be coming with all they have for this match but we have our work cut out which is to win and get the three points at stake. We lost to them when we played in Port-Harcourt and we need this win to get our target for the season back on track.”
Recall that a 62nd-minute goal scored by Nyima Nwagwa albeit controversially, ensured the table-toppers earned all points in the reverse fixture which was a match day 14 fixture inside the main bowl of Adokieye Amiesiemeka stadium, Omagwa, Port-Harcourt.
The home form of Rangers in the second stanza has been splendid with five wins out of six at their adopted home ground of Awka City stadium while the visiting side has not been too good a traveling side as they have lost all of their second stanza trips except for the win in Uyo against Dakkada.
Encounters between these two superpowers in their own rights have never been easy for either side. Still, in fifteen meetings between 2016 and early this year, the home side has recorded five wins as against seven for the visitors while three had ended in a draw with the 4-0 spanking handed the Stanley Eguma tutored side on September 4, 2016, the most comprehensive score line recorded just as the Port-Harcourt side earned a 3-0 win over the ‘Flying Antelopes’ on May 2, 2019, in what looked like a pay-back fixture.