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A 55th-minute strike by the skipper of the side, Igwilo Chimobi, was enough to hand the U-17 team of Rangers International F.C a 1-0 win over their Heartland F.C counterpart at the start of the inaugural edition of NPFL U-17 Youth League for the South-East zone.

The encounter took place inside the main bowl of Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu, and was watched by an appreciable number of soccer enthusiasts and stakeholders that included the chairman of NPFL Youth League, Pastor Emeka Inyama; Enugu state commissioner for Youth & Sports, Barrister Lloyd Ekweremadu; G.M/CEO of Rangers, Barrister Amobi Ezeaku; Enugu state F.A chairman, Barrister Tony Ugwu; Abia Warriors chairman, Chief John Obuh and a host of others.

The wards of coach Basil Obeta of Rangers ably assisted by the duo of former internationals, Ejike Uzoenyi and Okey Odita were immediately off the block as the referee sounded his whistle to signal the start of hostilities with Ilono Somto, John Anietie, Umeh Chibuike and Igwilo Chimobi distinguishing themselves to the delight of the spectators.

After cancelling themselves out in the first stanza, both teams returned for the second half more rejuvenated but it was the Coal City side that grabbed the maximum points from the encounter after Igwilo Chimobi lost his marker with his dribbling skills to slot past the lanky shot-stopper for the Owerri side just ten minutes into the second stanza for what turned out to be the only goal of the match.

Even when Rangers played the last quarter of an hour with a player down, they fought hard to stop the invading Heartland players from having a sniff at their goal with goalkeeper, Chike Chinedu doing a yeoman’s job between the sticks.

CEO of Rangers after the encounter, while addressing the players, said, “I am impressed with your performance in the first game because you were steadfast in securing the victory, which is expected of you all, as you all have equal opportunities of joining the senior team and also featuring for the country.”

The competition continues Friday morning with the four teams, Rangers, Enyimba, Abia Warriors, and Heartland continuing the fight for the sole ticket from the zone for the national finals slated for Lagos.

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