Rivalries are made to last for a life time. This is what Rangers of Enugu and Enyimba of Aba will want to prove as the much awaited Nigeria Professional Football League finally kicks off today.
Enthusiasm to restart the league reached an all time high after the Super Eagles won the Africa Cup of Nations with Nigerian league players in the tick of the action.
Now that the new management board of the NPFL has jump started the league, it remains to be seen how far the clubs and players will go in the season.
Rangers and Enyimba are two clubs with a large following and it is always an exciting prospect when they play in what has been dubbed the ‘Oriental derby”.
In the corresponding fixture last season, it took a Chikeluba Ofoedu’s strike to settle the fixture in favour of Rangers before a full house and it is hoped that the soccer-starved fans of Enugu will jam the 20,000-capacity Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium to cheer the gladiators to victory.
Rangers were runners-up last season and have showed their ambition to be champions at the end of this new campaign with the signing of several top stars including AFCON stars Sunday Mba,Chigozie Agbim as well as Nzube Anaezemba, Razaq Adegbite (Enyimba), Solomon Jabason (Akwa United), Sanusi Sani (Gombe United) and Adamu Mohammed, Uche Oguchi (Dolphin).
Rangers coach, Okey Emordi, who incidentally guided Enyimba to win a second CAF Champions League in 2004, said he expects ‘The Flying Antelopes’ to get off to a winning start in the new season.
“There has never been an easy game whenever these two sides meet. It has always gone to the wire and this will not be different. I expect Enyimba to come out fighting for all points but we will win,” predicted the experienced Emordi.
“We have some new players to complement those that helped us last season and it won’t be long before
Assistant captain of Enyimba, Markson Ojobo said they will be in Enugu to win.
“We are coming to Enugu to kick start the season with a win. We have been well motivated for this season and no team can stand on our way, not even Rangers at their backyard,” Ojobo declared.