After dropping their first point on home soil in the abridged 2018/2019 season of the Nigeria Professional Football League in the midweek, Rangers International FC are in no mood to toy with the maximum points at stake as third-placed, MFM FC come visiting for a match day 16 fixture fixed for Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu, on Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019.
The seven-time Nigeria league champions still have the defeat suffered in the hands of coach Fidelis Ilechukwu tutored side in a match day four fixture at the Agege stadium, Lagos, fresh in their minds and coupled with the two points dropped mid-week against Lobi Stars, will be targeting the scalp of the ‘Olukoya Boys’ in this top of the table debacle.
In the recent past, matches between the contenders have never been easy for either side as the spoils have been shared evenly in the past six encounters with two wins, two losses and two drawn games going into this seventh fixture with the stakes very high.
Speaking ahead of the fixture, coach Olugbenga Ogunbote of Rangers said, “We appreciate the fact that MFM is not a small team so we shall approach the match with all the zeal required to earn a good win to keep us at the summit of the group. We are not also forgetting the fact that till date, MFM is the only side to have forced a defeat on us and we are determined to repay them handsomely by God’s grace.”
He further said, “Except for Bobby Clement and a few others, I have a fit squad to pick from to deliver the needed result that we failed to get against Lobi Stars. I call on our teaming fans to come out in their numbers to cheer us to a resounding victory on this Easter day football encounter. I believe that it shall end in victory and praise.”
The Flying Antelopes, who top the table, will be boosted with the return of Bright Silas, Ifeanyi George, Isaac Louté, Kelvin Itoya and Pape Ousmane who have been missing in action for some match days now while Nana Bonsu is expected to start his twenty-fifth game of the season in all competition between the stick.
Top scorer for the Enugu side, Godwin Aguda who netted his fifth league goal for the season in the 1-1 draw with Lobi Stars, Wednesday, said, “Let me start by thanking God for His grace upon our team in the past matches and hope for more favor as we tackle MFM who have always shown that they are a difficult side. Victory shall be ours at the end of the match on Sunday even though we don’t expect it to come easy. Our march towards a top three finish and ultimately the league trophy at the end of the top-six championship is still on track.”
Rangers’ performances in the last seven matches after it exited the continent has been eye-catching winning two matches and ending three on a draw on the road while making ‘The Cathedral’, Nnamdi Azikiwe stadium a fortress.
However, the visitors who have equally done well this season are not coming to Enugu to get laid as one of its utility player, Julius Emiloju, said that they have all it takes to pull off a surprise against Rangers stressing, “Rangers is just like every other NPFL team. I don’t see anything special in the team. So our game against them will just be like every other match. We know how to play Rangers, if you look at the statistics, you will see that it has always been a tight contest for both teams. I believe we have all it takes to crush them at home. We are very confident. Being the only team that has beaten them this season, I think we can do it again in Enugu.”
Both teams have all it takes going forward but the host can boast of better defending going into this encounter with the host scoring seventeen times and conceding eight in thirteen matches played while the visitors have scored fifteen goals and leaked in eleven in fifteen games already played with four points separating them as Rangers is on 28 points while MFM is on 24 points.