By John Egbokhan
Rangers International of Enugu are on the brink of winning their seventh Nigerian League title. To achieve this momentous feat, all the Flying Antelopes need to do is avoid defeat in tomorrow’s final game with El Kanemi Warriors at the Nnamdi Azikwe Stadium in Enugu.
The last time Rangers got their hands on the league title was in 1984, after prior successes in 1974, 1975, 1977, 1981, 1982. It has been 32 long and anxious wait for Rangers faithful, who however now stand on the threshold of breaking the seeming jinx that has prevented this traditional team of the Nigerian Premier League from winning the title
The story of Rangers season has been that of hard work, team work, doggedness and effective planning orchestrated by Coach Imama Amakpabo, who, all season-long, has got his charges firing on all cylinders, despite the spirited push by the likes of Rivers United, Wikki Tourist, Ifeanyi Ubah and Abia Warriors for the mouthwatering winners’ cheque of N40m.
When Enyimba won their seventh league title last season, they got a cheque of N30m but about a year on,, their oriental rivals, Rangers will get an additional N10m if they don;t choke when El Kanemi Warriors come calling the north-east. The job appears easy on the eyes for Rangers, who have made the home crowd a fortress of sorts all season long, winning 17 games on the hallowed Cathedral, always filled to their effervescent fans, who will surely fill the stadium to the rafters tomorrow for the final game of the season.
Striker Chisom Egbuchulam, whose goal against Ikorodu United, last weekend, was his 13th goal of the season, will be the cynosure of all eyes as he spearheads Rangers’ attack in a game that decides who become the champions of Nigeria.
Egbuchulam will find comfort in Obinna Nwobodo, whose partnership with the former, has caused a lot of problems for opponents.. For Rangers faithful, the party has already started, with fans setting up tents to party all-night-long to celebrate the breaking of the club’s 32-year jinx to win the league title.