After a hard-fought 1-0 win over Akwa United in a matchday 2, NPFL 2020/2021 fixture at ‘The Cathedral’, Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu, the ‘Flying Antelopes’, Rangers International will this weekend be chasing the maximum points at stake in the matchday 3 encounter against tough-looking, Jigawa Golden Stars F.C at their adopted, Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna.
Coach Salisu Yusuf, Technical Adviser to the seven-time Nigeria league champions, will be relying on his players who are in their best possible form to contain the fireworks from the likes of Abdullahi Musa, Ali Musa and Samuel Stone whose late goal ensured that Sunshine Stars left Kaduna empty-handed on matchday 1.
With the likes of Femi Ajayi, Israel Abia, Chinonso Eziekwe firing from all cylinders, it would be difficult for the Rahman Olanrewaju and Papa Idris led defense line not to crack for Godwin Paul to be tested between the sticks.
Rangers backline would be weary of the attacking duo of Richard Christopher and Muhammad Abubakar who on a good day can wreck any sleepy defense for the coach Gilbert Opana tutored side.
Coach Yusuf in a chat said that he was optimistic of coming out with a good result in Kaduna since the Jigawa side was playing away from their home ground in Dutse or adopted Sani Abacha stadium, Kano, stressing, “We expect a tough fight from the Jigawa boys but I believe that we have done enough in training to get a win. It is not about being over-confident but we respect every team in the league and go for a win in each of our matches.”
Also echoing the coach’s view is ‘Kaduna Boy’, Dauda Madaki who said, “We have played them before and it ended in victory for us and we are taking that motivation into this encounter in Kaduna. I believe we shall come back with a sweet victory.”
Since the return of the ‘Giant Killers’ to the top flight of Nigeria club football last season, both sides only met once in Enugu and it was a Dauda Madaki’ lone strike on 70 minutes that settled the tie on February 12, 2020 before the Covid-19 pandemic forced the stop of all sporting activities in the country.
In the five ever encounters between the ‘Flying Antelopes’ and the ‘Giant Killers’, the Coal City landlords had three wins, all at home, with two losses suffered, scoring eight times and getting cracked four times by the Dutse based outfit with the 5-0 spanking of 2nd May, 2012 the most outstanding result.
Even with the absence of mercurial dribbling whiz-kid, Ibrahim Olawoyin; Benin international, Charles Tiessor; Esor Achibong and Emeka Ayogueke all out injured, coach Salisu Yusuf still have enough in his loaded armoury to get the job done in Kaduna.
Result of the last five encounters between Jigawa G.S and Rangers are;
12/2/2020 = Rangers 1-0 Jigawa
2/5/2012 = Rangers 5-0 Jigawa
8/4/2012 = Jigawa 1-0 Rangers
24/2/2008 = Rangers 2-1 Jigawa
24/10/2007 = Jigawa 2-0 Rangers