After the unfortunate 1-2 loss to Akwa United in a M.D 20 fixture of NPFL 2019/2020 season, technical adviser of Rangers International F.C, Salisu Yusuf, has said that his wards have overcome the loss and set to annex the maximum points as Kano Pillars come visiting for a rescheduled matchday 11 encounters slated for the main bowl of Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu on Wednesday, February 19, 2020.
Salisu who handled the ‘Sai Masu Gida’ side to a league trophy sometime in the past is optimistic of earning a win to keep hope alive of finishing on a high in the 2019/2020 NPFL season.
Coach Salisu said after leading his wards to a win over Jigawa Golden Stars, few days back, “I expect a tough match from Kano Pillars but I am very optimistic of coming out with a victory. Both sides have history and followership but with the form we are now, I don’t think they can withstand us. We need the three points and by God’ grace we shall get it.”
Encounters between the two most followed clubs in the country and champions of the last two editions of the Aiteo Cup in 2018 in Asaba and 2019 in Kaduna have never ceased to produce all the trappings of an ‘El-Classico’ even when they did not start the ongoing season on a very good note that has seen them playing catch-up to current pacesetters.
After the famous ‘Asaba Miracle’ where the ‘Flying Antelopes’ clawed it is way back from a 3-0 deficit up to the last quarter of the championship match, to draw level and win the oldest club trophy in the ensuing penalty shootout, but sides met again in the matchday 4 of the 2018/2019 NPFL championship playoff inside the ‘Soccer Temple’, Agege Township Stadium, Lagos, and it took a Godwin Aguda’ 88th minute converted spot-kick to cancel out a Rabiu Ali’ well taken 57th-minute free-kick for them to share the spoils.
Occupying the 8th position on the twenty team log with 27 points 18 matches played, the ‘Sai Masu Gida’ side would be aiming to continue another round of unbeaten runs after being stopped by M.F.M on their 14th try on matchday 19 while the wounded ‘Flying Antelopes’ who are on the 17th position with twenty points from 16 matches want to get back on the winning way after the shock home loss to Akwa United at the weekend and a former Pillars’ pillar of defence, Ifeanyi Nweke sees nothing but victory for his new club, Rangers, on Wednesday
Nweke said, “I played in Kano for a very long period and I know they are coming with everything for the match but we hold the ace to achieve victory. It will be tough but we are strong and determined to get the win and move us closer to the top bracket of the league. Our fans should come out in their number to cheer us to victory.”
Chief coach of the visitors, Ahmed Yaro, said, “Rangers and Pillars are two great sides that play good football and I believe that the match on Wednesday won’t be different. I know they will come at us with all they have considering the result of their last match but that will be to our advantage. Enugu fans love and support good football and that is what we are going to do.”
Also speaking ahead of the encounter, Rangers’ mercurial midfielder, Ibrahim Olawoyin said, “Our collective target is all three points and the players appreciate the fact that our position on the league is not too good. We are motivated and determined to ensure we get the maximum points at stake and reassure our supporters that we can end the season on a high.”
Rangers may likely miss the services of Chiamaka Madu, Godspower Aniefiok, Issif Traore, Semiu Liadi and Ugwu Uwadiegwu who are just coming back from injuries as coach Salisu Yusuf will be relying on the likes of Tony Shimaga, Ikechukwu Ibenegbu, Kenechukwu Agu and Chinonso Eziekwe to grab the maximum points at stake.
Coach Ibrahim Musa may likely rely on the reflexes Joshua Enaholo with Emmanuel Anyanwu, Victor Denis, Nasiru Sani providing needed cover while Rabiu Ali, Abbas Rabi’u, Usman Babalolo and Auwalu Ali will try to provide for lone ranger up front, Nyima Nwagua while former Rangers winger, Bright Silas, may have a role to play in having a run at the host’ backline.
Rangers league form in the last five games reads; L.W.D.D.W while that of Kano Pillars reads; W.L.W.D.W.