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Rangers mid-season scorecard 2022 above average

Although Enugu Rangers mid-season scorecard 2022 is well above average, the team needs bite to top the charts at the second stanza.

The first part of Nigeria Professional Football League 2021/2022 season officially came to an end on Sunday, 20th March.

Rangers ended the half after her Saturday, 19 March encounter with Lobi Stars at the brand-new Awka City Stadium.

The League Management Company announced a two-week break, after which the second stanza will commence on 3 April, 2022.

Within the time, Coach Abdu Maikaba and Coach Mbwas Mangut are in-charge as the Technical Adviser and Head Coach respectively.

Under their tutelage, Rangers played a total of 19 matches home and away. It lost three, drew seven and won nine matches.

Rangers lost two of three matches in home ground of Nnewi and the third to Rivers United in Port Harcourt.

Contrarily, it recorded two of seven draws at home in Nnewi while it chalking up five impressive away draws.

Additionally, the team also recorded three of its nine wins away while posting the other six at home.

Total number goals scored is 25 while total number goals conceded is 10.

With the above result, Rangers sits third on the league table with 34 points behind Plateau United with 41 points and Rivers United with 42 points.

On relegation zone for now are; 20-MFM 17 points, 19-Lobi 19 points, 18-Heartland 20 points and 17-Niger Tornadoes 20 points as well.

Rangers mid-season scorecard 2022

Highest Goalscorer is Ossy Martins for the team while goalkeeper with best cleansheet is Seidu Mutawakilu. Rangers Captain is Tope Olusesi, assisted by Kenechukwu Agu.

Rangers mid-season scorecard 2022

Rangers outfoxes Nasarawa at Nnewi Stadium

Rangers outfoxes Nasarawa FC, gallops away with a 1-0 victory over hard-fighting squad at Nnewi Stadium, reports Sobenna Nwagbo.

Rangers International Football Club of Enugu, yesterday 17 February defeated visiting Nasarawa United FC Lafia by a lone goal.

The encounter is a rescheduled Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) Match-Day 13 fixture played at FC Ifeanyi Uba Stadium, Nnewi.

The first half ended in a goalless draw as the two teams stoutly defended their turf. Rangers however kept the defense line of Nasarawa – led by Sadiq Abdullahi and Goalkeeper Danlami Umar – very busy.

The quartet of Elijah Ani, Christian Nnaji, Chidiebere Nwobodo and Kenechukwu Agu aggressively surged in from both wings.

Rangers looked more energetic in the second half and dominated the game throughout.

Incredibly, referee Hong Zubairu (Adamawa) and first Assistant, Digbori Tejiri from (Delta) kept disrupting every Rangers move inside the box.

To circumvent the human hazard, Rangers attackers tried getting the much-needed goal by resorting to long-range strikes.

Elijah Ani’s 52nd minute cracker from outside the box hit the crossbar and bounced twice between floor and roof of the goalpost before the Goalkeeper held it.

Everyone at the match venue counted it as a goal, but the referee allowed the goalkeeper to kick from the box.

Another thunderous shot from outside the box fired by Christian Nnaji in the 61st minute was followed by the Goalkeeper. But the force of the shot drove both keeper and the ball inside the net.

This was how the goal was counted for Rangers as it left no room for technical maneuver by the umpires.

“It’s a fair game”

Rangers outfoxes Nasarawa at Nnewi
Top-five spots as at today 18 February 2022.

In a post-match interview, Rangers Assistant Coach, Mbwas Mangut, downplayed the hazard and described it as a fair game.

He was happy that Rangers secured maximum points from the encounter “despite some lapses in the course of the game.”

“We started well but later came under some pressure and this made it a little difficult for us.

“But we had to tell ourselves to revisit our style of play which helped to give us the victory.

“The result is a way forward for us as we have climbed a bit further the ladder. And we will keep working to get more.”

Coach Bala Nikyu, Technical Adviser of Nasarawa United, waxed philosophical.

“The game has been played, won and lost. But the league is still a long way (away).

“We will go back and prepare better for subsequent games,” Nikiyu said

This win lifts Rangers to the 3rd position in the professional league with 23 points from 13 matches.

Consequently, the Flying Antelops are trailing Plateau United on 27 points and Rivers United in second position with 26 points.

Rangers travels to Port-Harcourt to square up with the second-placed Rivers United on Sunday 20 February by 4.00pm.

It’s a tough game that Rangers needs to win and advance. Rangers needs a 7-0 goal margin to be able to displace Rivers United from its second position.

Rangers outfoxes Nasarawa at Nnewi

Rangers adds to Heartland woes in Owerri

Sobenna Nwagbo witnesses a 3-0 demolition as Enugu Rangers adds to Heartland financial woes in their Owerri home ground

Enugu Rangers FC yesterday 21 January thrashed hapless Heartland FC of Owerri 3-0 at their Dan Ayiam Stadium Owerri home ground.

The Matchday 7 of the 2021/2022 Oriental derby unfortunately ended badly for the Naze warriors currently battling with financial challenges.

Heartland came to the match on the back of protests over unpaid salaries and was a shadow of their old squad.

With the result, Rangers became the first club to defeat the Naze Millions by 3-0 scoreline in six years.

The team similarly suffered a humiliating defeat on 3 May 2015 in the hands of Akure Sunshine Stars.

Julius Ikechukwu delivered the first blow from a 26 minutes strike. Thereafter, Christian Nnaji’s thunderous strike from 18 yard box in 55 minutes drove the wounds deeper. Finally, Shedrack Asiegbu’s capped the win with another strike in the 84th minute.

The goals

Julius Ikechukwu opened scoring for Rangers from tee off by substitute Chidiebere Nwobodo who came on three minutes earlier.

Nwobodo replaced Super Eagles winger and 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON winner, Ejike Uzoenyi. Ejike suffered injury in the 23rd minute of the match.

Heartland responded in the 39th minute and almost got an equaliser with an Ikenna Stephen’s expertly struck free kick. The 30-yards strike however kissed the crossbar with goalkeeper Bamidele Adeyeni already displaced.

Heartland’s misery worsened when Jimoh Gbadamosi received a second yellow card. He handled the ball in a desperate attempt to score and was marched out in the 61st minute.

Rangers thereafter made their numerical strength count. Shedrack Asiegbu who came on nine minutes earlier finished off a sweeping counter-attacking move from Elijah Ani and Christian Nnaji.

The final goal gave Rangers a comfortable lead on the dot of 84 minutes.

Rangers returns to third place on the league table, behind Remo Stars (17 points) and Rivers United (15).

Rangers is on 14 points from seven matches played so far.

Next week Wednesday, Rangers returns to their temporary home – FC Ifeanyi Stadium Nnewi – for the next match.

The Flying Antelopes handed out a 2-0 defeat to MFM Football Club at Nnewi on 16 January.

The pitch of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu is currently undergoing a facelift.

Rangers adds to Heartland woes in Owerri

Rangers dim MFM light twice at Nnewi

A rejuvenated Rangers team dim twice the light that Mountain of Fire MFM FC brought to Nnewi, reports Sobenna Nwagbo

Rangers dim mfm light

Sobenna Nwagbo

Sobenna is our special correspondent for matters Enugu Rangers. Follow him on Facebook

Enugu Rangers International FC on Sunday 16 January 2022 defeated MFM Football Club of Lagos (aka Olukoya Boys) at Nnewi, Anambra State.

The encounter is the Matchday-6 encounter of Nigeria Professional Football League, 2021/2022 season played at FC Ifeanyi Uba Stadium, Nnewi.

First goal for Rangers was scored by the Captain, Tope Olusesi. He was set up by Ugochukwu Ugwuoke from the left hand side to the right from a dead ball situation. Tope jabbed the ball inside the net in the 16th minute of play.

A second goal was a penalty beautifully converted by Ossy Martins at 43rd minutes.

The MFM Goalkeeper Osayi Kingdom brought Ugochukwu Ugwuoke down in their 18 yard box after he intercepted a back-pass from his defender.

Despite the win, Rangers Technical Adviser, Coach Abdu Maikaba expressed reservations on the state of with pitch.

According to him, “this is not the type of field we play our brand of football. But whether we like it or not, this is now our home and my boys need to adjust.

“We are happy we won the match, but we need to keep improving”.

According to him,” MFM has always been a difficult team again Rangers in recent years, because of young boys in the team who are ready to run till the end of 90 minutes”.

Enugu State Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Mr. Manfred Nzekwe, watched the match and said the Enugu Stadium works will soon be completed.

On the match itself, he offered praise to the Flying Antelopes.

“This is what we expect to see Rangers do all the time. Though the two teams are good, but Rangers has proven to be the best so far.”

Commissioner Nzekwe thanked, “the Nnewi fans and the entire Igbo race” for their support for the team.

“Rangers is for South East and can play in any part of Igbo land as our home.

“But we pray to go back to our Enugu home in the near future.

Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium

Rehabilation works are underway at the turf of Rangers home stadium, the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium in Enugu.

The League Management Company approved Rangers’ request to adopt FCIU Stadium as home for the ‘Flying Anthelopes’.

“We are putting the final touches in the turf and will soon get back to our tradition fans,” the Commissioner said.

The result has placed Rangers so far on the third position on NPFL table with 11 points from 6 matches behind Remo Stars(14) and Rivers United (12).

Rangers dim MFM light twice s at Nnewi

So Far So Soaring Eagles

In So Far, So Soaring Eagles, Ikeddy Isiguzo celebrates the unexpected victories from Nigeria’s Super Eagles at the ongoing African Cup of Nations football tournament in Cameroon.

AFCON 2022

THERE are still complaints about the Super Eagles – no entertaining football, poor ball control, poorer crosses.

I add mine, wastefulness with final balls.

Here are the good news. This is a team that changed coaches weeks back. It missed some top players because COVID-19 and injuries. And it had not played together. Yet, the new coach, Austine Eguavoen, has won maximum points from two matches at AFCON.

Among their victims are Egypt, which struggled to get points off Guinea-Bissau.

At least we are complaining from a point of leading our Group and without the high BP that it used to be watching the Super Eagles.

Let them continue doing what they are doing – winning matches.

Our attackers are almost giving opposing coaches nightmares. There is something about the productivity of a team that scored four goals in two matches from four different players, Iheanacho, Chukwueze, Simon, Awoniyi.

The Super Eagles are soaring.

I even heard that some are complaining that our goalkeeper Maduka Okoye is too handsome. What does one say to that?

History is beckoning for Nigeria to win the coach again under a second Nigerian coach, Stephen Keshi being the first in 2013.

So Far So Soaring Eagles

Airpeace gifts N10m to Eagles for first Afcon win

Airpeace Airlines boss, Allen Onyema gifts N10m to Nigeria’s Super Eagles at the ongoing African Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament.

The largesse is for winning the opening match that bookmakers heavily bet on the team to lose, he said.

He promised the team an additional N50milion if they bring the trophy back to Nigeria for the fourth time.

Onyema was among the VIPs that watched the Eagles’ opening game in Garoua, Cameroon yesterday.

He made the promise of N50million when he greeted the boys in their dressing room at halftime.

Onyema told the boys that they “carry the hopes and aspirations of over 200million people and 350 ethnicities” on their young shoulders.

He therefore urged them to play their hearts out in order to prevail as champions of the tournament.

Eagles defeat Egypt

Super Eagles flew past Egypt in their opening game with a superb left footer strike by Kelechi Iheanacho that left the Pharaohs reeling.

Kelechi’s goal came on the dot of 30 minutes and was initiated from Simon’s deft left flank cross.

Aribo headed backwards to Iheanacho who dribbled an onrushing defender to fire a supersonic shot into the Egyptian net.

The team, managed by Coach Austin Eguavoen, put up a scintillating performance that kept the ball in their opponents half throughout the first half of play.

Sudan is next target

The Eagles will again file out for a second game on Saturday, 15 January, to try Team Sudan for size.

Another outright win will automatically catapult them to the second, knockout stage of the tournament.

The Eagles are playing in Group D of the tournament with Egypt, Guinea Bissau and Sudan.

Sudan and Guinea Bissau played a goalless draw when they met the same day.

Nigeria is three-time champions, bringing the Afcon trophy home in the Nigeria 1980, Tunisia 1994, and South Africa 2013 tournaments.

Airpeace gifts N10m to Eagles for Egypt win

Ebonyi births Football Club, Salt City FC

Ebonyi State births a football club to be known as Salt City Football Club, Abakalii.

The State plans to also float a female version of the male football team, an official said.

The State inaugurates the Club’s management and technical crew today, 17 August.

Gov. Dave Umahi promised during the #endSARS protests to set up sporting outlets to engage unemployed Ebonyi youths.

Consequently the State made efforts to buy a Division 1 Club playing in the 2021/22 football season.

Ebonyi did not however name the Club but said it had concluded negotiations.

Apparently, the acquired team is to subsequently be renamed Salt City Football Club of Abakaliki.

This strategy enables Salt City FC to join the Professional League in short order, Youth Development and Sports Commissioner, Charles Akpuenika announced.

“We have the necessary endorsement from relevant soccer authorities to participate in the league,” he said.

The Commissioner said the acquisition process was conducted in a way that freed Ebonyi from inheriting the team’s liabilities.

King David Football Championship

Ebonyi plans to subsequently source the bulk of team players locally, using talents discovered by scouts from 64 Development Centres.

Consequently, Governor Umahi instituted a “King David Football Championship” to be competed by teams raised from the State’s 64 Development Centres.

Akpuenika confirmed that the King David Football Championship will expose talented footballers from the grassroots to feed Salt City FC.

“The championship involves teams from the development centres and we’ll groom selected players to ensure we present a formidable team.”

The Youth and Sports Ministry collaborates with its Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters counterpart on the Championship, he said.

He named members of Salt City FC pioneer Management and Technical teams to be inaugurated today as follows:

Ag. Chief Coach
Hillary Obiesie

Asst. Chief Coaches
Chris Akukwe,
Harrison Obasi
Martin Mkpuma.

Acting Team Manager
Felix Odionye

Ag. Club Secretary
Desond Ome

Ag. Welfare Officer
Leonard Obijiofor

Media Officers
Emeka Ikegwu
Nnamdi Echem
Emenike Ogalagu

Ebonyi births Football Club, Salt City FC

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Teams flying Nigerian flag for 2021 Africa football tourneys

League champions Akwa United leads three other teams flying Nigerian flag in the 2021-2022 African football championships.

Others are AITEO (FA) Cup champions Bayelsa United and two League runners-up Rivers United and Enyimba Club of Aba.

It turned out to be almost a clean sweep for the Eastern clubs.

Akwa United CAF Champions
Rivers UnitedCAF Champions
Bayelsa UnitedCAF Confederations
Enyimba ClubCAF Confederations
Nassarawa CAF Confederations

The indomitable Enugu Rangers is unfortunately excluded based on poor performance that placed it behind six other teams.

Teams that did better include Rivers United(63), Kano Pillars(64), Nassarawa United(65), Kwara United(65), Enyimba(66), and the league Champions Akwa United(71 points).

Ordinarily, Enyimba of Aba having defeated Dakkada on the last match at Uyo, should have been second on the log with 66 points.

However, 10 minutes into its final game, report of a Disciplinary Committee of the LMC turned the tables against Enyimba.

The report indicted Jigawa Golden Stars for fielding an ineligible player in their match against Rivers United.

The Committee therefore awarded 3 goals and 3 points to Rivers United in line with the LMC legal framework.

When the three points and three goals were therefore added to Rivers United, the club emerged second!

Furthermore, Rivers United will therefore be playing in CAF Champions League alongside champions Akwa United.

Enyimba will now play in CAF Confederation Cup with the Aiteo (FA) Cup winners, Bayelsa United.

Bayelsa wins AITEO Cup

The finals of the Aiteo (FA) Cup final was played last Sunday, 7 August, 2021 between Nassarawa United Football Club of Lafia and Bayelsa United Football Club of Yenegoa.

The match played at the Samuel Ogbomudia Stadium, Benin City ended 2-2 at the end of 90 minutes.

The subsequent penalty shootout eventually favoured Bayelsa United which scored three against Nassarawa two.

Final scores were 5-4 in favour of Bayelsa.

Bayelsa United and Enyimba/Kwara United will represent Nigeria in CAF Confederation Cup this season.

Slug: 5 teams flying Nigerian flag in the 2021-2022 Africa football championships.

Legendary Goalie Emma Okala turns 70

… moving tribute by Segun Odegbami

Legendary goalie, Emma Okala, who manned the post for Enugu Rangers International and the national team for over a decade turns 70 today

He began keeping for Enugu Rangers International Football Club in 1971 from where he became Nigeria’s first choice goalkeeper.

In addition to his contemporaries, Christian Chukwu and Segun Odegbami, Okala was also a household name in African Football.

He maintained his stellar form for Club and country between 1972 and 1980 winning many local and continental laurels.

Okala was voted “African Footballer of the Year” in 1978, two years before Nigeria first lifted the African Nations Cup.

Born Emmanuel Anthony Oguejiofo Okala at Onitsha on 17 May 1951, he spent his youth playing for club and country.

His Eagles’ teammate, Segun Odegbami, in a moving tribute described him as “the most famous footballer on the African continent” See tribute below.

Enugu Metro wishes a happy birthday to the legendary Emma Okala as he turns 70 today.

Honours and Laurels

  • 1973, won All Africa Games gold.
  • From 1974, won the FA Cup three times 1974, 1975, 1976.
  • 1977, captained Green Eagles to ECOWAS Games soccer gold over Ghana
  • 1977, won the Winners Cup with Rangers.
  • 1978, voted African Footballer of the Year by African Sports Journalists Union.
  • In 1980, won African Nations Cup gold.

Segun Odegbami’s Tribute

Babuje”, the greatest, at 70!!

Today is a very special day in the life of one of Africa’s greatest football heroes; the only Nigerian goalkeeper to be decorated as ‘African Footballer of the Year’ by the African Sports Journalists Union, ASJU; the tallest and most dreaded goalkeeper in Africa during his time; the man that manned the goal posts for the national team of Nigeria, the Green Eagles, for 10 years, and also for the club that became the greatest post-Civil War Movement of the Igbos (Rangers International Football Club of Enugu ); the first ‘Chairman’ in Nigerian football before his own captain, Christian Chukwu, earned and inherited the sobriquet; the most recognisable figure in the whole of African football throughout the 1970s because of his awesome feats on the football field and his towering imposing 1.9m (6ft 5 inches) physique; the one nicknamed ‘Tallest’ and ‘Man Mountain’ by the late legendary radio sportscaster, Earnest Okonkwo.

Today marks the arrival of this gentle giant to the gates of the ‘Elders Club’.

I ask all Nigerians to join me in congratulating and celebrating a gentleman, a humanitarian, a man of integrity and credibility, a true friend and my brother, as he turns 70 today.

May this day mark the start of the best years of his life on earth, to be lived long, happily, healthily and in prosperity.

I am calling on all Nigerians to pray for him and join us on the Sports Parliament this Thursday as we celebrate Emmanuel Okala, MON, at 70.

Congratulations and a Happy 70th Birthday, ‘Babuje!”

Golden Years of Enugu Rangers International

Poet and literary critic, Uzor Maximum Uzoatu, looks back at the golden years of Coal City’s brand marker, Enugu Rangers International FC, the indomitable lions of Nigerian soccer.

Rangers (c) 74 Photo – Standing L-R: Emeka Onyedika, Christian Chukwu, Chimezie Ngadi, Charles Okoroigwe, Dominic Ezeani, Kenneth Abana, Foster Ikeagu, Matthias Obianika, Ernest Ufele, TM Eze-Udoye, Coach Dan Anyiam; Squatting L-R: Kenneth Ilodigwe, Ogidi Ibeabuchi, Godwin Ogbueze, Emmanuel Okala, Harrison Mecha, Luke Okpala, Nwabueze Nwankwo

When the Nigeria-Biafra war ended in January 1970, there was gloom in Igboland. Even as the then Head of State General Yakubu Gowon made the famous announcement of “No Victor, No Vanquished”, the vanquished ones knew themselves as they sauntered back into Nigeria, hungry and broken, after the end of the Biafra struggle.

The legendary football administrator, Jerry Enyeazu, strongly felt that football could lift the spirit. He was ably backed by BSC Nzenwa, and the club named Enugu Rangers was birthed on January 29, 1970.

The rest, as they say, is history – but let’s just do a brief recap here.

The eminent Nigerian football administrators of that time, notably the iconic Oyo Orok Oyo, at the end of the war stressed that a team from the erstwhile rebel section must be involved for a true national champion to emerge. The Nigerian Army football team, Lagos Garrison, was the reigning kings that had to be matched up with the team from the East. In the pulsating match the boys from the East defeated the Nigerian Army team 2-1, a clear case of the vanquished turning the table on the victors.

The Rangers team truly lived up to the club’s motto: “From Difficulties To The Heights.”

A key player from the Nigerian Army team, Paul “Wonder Boy” Hamilton, recalled that Olusegun Obasanjo was so enraged when he saw the army team in the office of the team coordinator George Innih that he nearly had them flogged for “losing to those hungry boys”. The eastern boys may have been hungry but they were quite determined such that one of their star forward, Dominic Nwobodo, who had his head broken and bloodied, completed the match with a completely bandaged head that earned him the nickname “Alhaji”.

It was from the ruins of the war that Enugu Rangers was formed in 1970. The team represented Nigeria in the 1971 African Cup of Champion Clubs, reaching the quarter-finals, only to lose to ASEC Mimosas of Cote d’Ivoire.

The pioneer Rangers team of 1970 was made up of Cyril Okosieme in goal, Ernest Ufele and Johnny “Wheeler” Nwosu as full backs, Peter Okeke as defensive midfielder, the skipper Godwin Achebe as central defender with Luke “Jazz Bukana” Okpala as his partner, while the forwards were Mathias Obianika, Kenneh Abana, Dominic Nwobodo, Chukwuma Igweonwu and Shedrack Ajaero.

There was a woman who was stronger than men backing the team in the shape and size of Mrs. Julie Alale, the inimitable “Madam Rangers” whose husband had been executed during the Biafra War.

The Rangers team got to the final of the 1971 National Challenge Cup but lost to WNDC (IICC, 3SC) of Ibadan, with WNDC’s goalie Adisa Amusa saving the penalty of Skipper Achebe.

A major addition to the Rangers team thereafter was the goalkeeper Emmanuel Okala who took over from Cyril Okosieme.

In the spirit of rising from the ruins of the war, the schoolboys of East Central State won the 1971 Manuwa/Adebajo Academicals Cup, and star players from the team such as Godwin Ogbueze, Dominic Ezeani, Kenneth Ilodigwe and Christian Chukwu were immediately drafted into the Rangers team.

Crack centre-half, Dominic Ezeani, who had displaced Skipper Achebe in the gold-winning national team, the Green Eagles, at the 1973 All-Africa Games staged in Lagos equally took over from the legendary Achebe as captain of Rangers and henceforth led the team to winning the double, that is, the League and Challenge Cup, in 1974. The 1974 Challenge Cup final was between Rangers and Mighty Jets of Jos, a team from Head of State Yakubu Gowon’s Plateau State. Aloysius Atuegbu who was playing for Mighty Jets told me that Gowon came to his home and promised to buy him a Volkswagen Beetle car if he could help beat Rangers.

Aloy played like a possessed man. Rangers Skipper Ezeani advised Aloy that he would get injured if he continued playing like mad. In Aloy’s next move, Rangers hard defender Harrison Mecha gave him a wicked tackle such that Aloy was stretchered out for good. Rangers beat Mighty Jets 2-0 and lifted the coveted trophy. No Volkswagen for Aloy!

Rangers won the coveted Challenge Cup three years on the trot, beating Shooting Stars of Ibadan 1-0 in 1975, and Alyufsalam Rocks of Ilorin 2-0 in 1976, a team remarkably made up of ten Ghanaian players and only one Nigerian! Due to fixtures pile-up Rangers had to forego defending the cup in 1977.

Playing too many matches caught up with Rangers in 1978 when after playing tough matches against Canon Sportif of Cameroun in the African Champion Clubs Cup and replaying the Challenge Cup semi-final with Raccah Rovers of Kano, the team eventually succumbed 3-0 to Bendel Insurance of Benin in the final.

Rangers had played some truly memorable matches. One was when the team lost 1-3 to Mehalla of Egypt in the semi-finals of the 1975 Champions Cup only to trounce the Egyptians 3-0 in the return leg played in Enugu. This was after one of the players, US-import Kenneth Ilodigwe, had been sent off by the referee. The match was aptly described as “Mehalla saw wahala in Enugu!”
Rangers lost the 1975 African Champions Cup final in Lagos to Hafia FC of Guinea after having waited in vain in Enugu for the match to be played there, only to be ferried to Lagos at the 11th hour. In the match, Rangers’ main thrust of attack, Nwabueze Nwankwo’s long-throws were continuously disallowed by the referee. Rangers lost 3-1 on aggregate.

Rangers won the African Cup-Winners Cup in 1977, beating Canon of Cameroun 5-2 on aggregate, and ending up as the only African team to win a competition without losing a match! The semi-final matches of the competition against the Nigerian reigning champions, IICC Shooting Stars of Ibadan, nearly caused a tribal war. The first leg was played in Lagos but the second leg had to be re-scheduled for Kaduna where Rangers won through a heart-stopping penalty shootout.

Rangers International of Enugu made the Igbo people to regain their pride of place after the debacle of Biafra. Rangers had no time for fancy, adopting a businesslike approach to winning all matches. Not for them the fanciful midfield play. As their players would readily tell anyone: “There are no goal-posts in the midfield!”

There have been conquests and defeats over the years, but the Rangers spirit of “Never Say Die” remains undaunted. The Team went into a trophy drought from 1982 only to bounce back to win the Nigerian Premier League in 2016.

Enugu Rangers international FC holds the remarkable record of being the only Nigerian football club never to have been relegated.