Fans of Enugu Rangers International Football Club, on Friday, paid glowing tributes to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, for his sheer dexterity, resilience, and mind-blowing achievements in revamping the club and returning it to its winning ways, within one year of his administration.
The enthusiasts, who spoke during the launch of “The New Dawn”, a book on Enugu Rangers International Football Club, written by Basil Ojengwa, at The Base Event Centre, Enugu, narrated with nostalgia how Gov. Ugwuanyi repositioned and gave maximum support to the club, which enabled it to win the 2016 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) title and the 2018 NFF/AITEO Federation Cup, after 32 trophyless years.
Describing Gov. Ugwuanyi as a jinx breaker, the Rangers fans, said that the governor’s achievements, commitment, and steadfastness in returning the club to its winning ways as well as other feats in the sports industry were legendary and unprecedented.
They added that lovers of Rangers football club all over the world are indebted to the governor for resuscitating the club’s ‘never say die spirit, which according to them, was the pride of the Igbo man, after the Civil War.
Reviewing the book, the member representing Ezeagu Constituency in the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Chima Obieze, highlighted that the author narrated “the contributions of a great leader (Ugwuanyi) who can best be described as a peaceful leader, lover of football, silent achiever and a consensus builder”.
Hon. Obieze added that “the author dedicated this book first to the Almighty God and then to the man God used to bring Rangers back to her winning ways, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi”.
The lawmaker explained that the five-chapter book also dwelt on the evolution of football and football clubs, the advent of football in Africa as well as the metamorphosis of the name Rangers “through a military name used during the Nigerian Civil War”, among other narratives.
In his address, Gov. Ugwuanyi who expressed delight at the event said that he was evoked by “the reminiscences of the rich history and career trajectory of Rangers International Football Club” when he received the invitation for the book launch.
“I recalled that Rangers International football club is a football club like no other; formed in 1970 (immediate post-civil war period) in the then East Central State. This Club announced its arrival in the Nigeria Soccer space with the win of national soccer competition and qualification for the African Cup of Champions Clubs.
Noting that Rangers football club took a break from winning trophies for 32 years, Gov. Ugwuanyi said: “In 2016, with our modest efforts in resourcing and restructuring the Rangers Football Club while leveraging the sweeping goodwill of the Club as well as the unwavering support of the teeming Rangers Fans, it pleased God to grant our darling club the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) trophy.
“This was closely followed by the 2018 NFF/AITEO Federation Cup, consolidating Rangers International Football Club’s leadership of the Nigerian Soccer space. Note, once more, that these victories came after 32 years of quietude”.