By Fisayo Dairo
Enugu Rangers coach Imama Amapakabo has decried the performance of some of his key players in the club’s opening day loss to Abia Warriors.
The current league champions started their title defense in the worst possible manner on Sunday afternoon when they lost the Oriental derby 2-1 in front of their fans at “The Cathedral” as the Nnamdi Azikwe Stadium is now known.
Speaking after the defeat, Amapakabo attributed the loss to the low performance of some of his players, without mentioning any one in particular.
“When the game started, we had about seven players that did not come to the party,” began Amapakabo.
“So when you have up to seven players that are not up there, and these are same players that few months ago were champions of Nigeria, we managed to hope as best as possible that the result would come at the end of the day (but it did not).” lamented Imama who started the game with ten (10) of the players that were part of the title winning side last term.
Rangers only goal of the game was scored by former Akwa United striker Fortune Omoniwari who was making his Rangers debut and despite his team’s apparent lack of goals in recent games, Imama remains unruffled. Rangers lost on penalties to FC Ifeanyiubah in the Nigerian Charity Cup last Wednesday after a goalless encounter
“We are creating the chances which is good. It is my responsibility to see that they start scoring and we will improve on that. It is a long season and we started last year by losing away (at Kano Pillars), we have 37 more games to play and I’m sure we will get it right.” he enthused.
Rangers play on the road to Nasarawa United in midweek and perhaps may reverse their poor start. Their hosts, Nasarawa United, secured an opening day draw at Confederation Cup hopefuls, Wikki Tourists on Sunday and will be playing their first game in their home ground in Lafia in two years after playing all of last season in Makurdi due to renovation works at the Lafia Township Stadium.