There is no better time than the re-scheduled match day 23 of NPFL 2017/2018 for the coach Olugbenga Ogunbote’ wards to turn the curve for the better as they trade tackles with visitors’ and neighbours, Heartland in an ‘Oriental Derby’ slated for the main bowl of Nnamdi Azikiwe stadium.
In the reverse fixture, it was a Bright Silas effort that settled the tie inside a packed Dan Anyiam stadium, Owerri for the ‘Flying Antelopes’ first win of the season.
Both teams have not been at their very best in the last couple of games with Rangers enjoying their last win in a 3-0 routing of Wikki Tourists in a match day 19 fixture while basement side, Heartland celebrated a victory after a long while in a match day 24 home win over Go Round F.C.
Looking ahead with optimism to the fixture is former Heartland winger, Temitope Olusesi, who will be receiving his LMC/FIRS ‘Wonder Goal’ award on match day, as he said that victory is a must against his former employers.
“We expect a great match from Heartland but we are charged up to take all three points at stake. Its been long since we last celebrated a victory and we are too hungry for victory to put our aspirations back on track. No doubt, there will be emotional times in the game but all I want is to give my best for my club if selected by the coach. Sincerely, we are not where we are supposed to be on the log. The top three remains our target.”
Echoing the attacker turned defender is the gaffer of the Enugu side, Coach Olugbenga Ogunbote as he said, “We are condemned to win and that is what we are going for. Surely, it would be tough but we are more than prepared to deliver all three points for our devoted supporters. It is also going to be a highly pressured match for both sides as it is a derby game and I hope we get it right on match day.”
Super Eagles wing wizard and Nations cup winner, Ejike Uzoenyi had during a visit to the team after one of its training session challenged the players to go for total victory as he dropped a cash of one hundred thousand naira to motivate the players to get the win.
Even when the likes of Adun Osamudiamwen, Tayo Fabiyi, Salau Ibrahim, Ugonna Anyora, Ugonna Uzochukwu, Semiu Liadi are all ruled out due to one form of injury or another, coach Ogunbote has enough reservoir to prosecute this derby as Ifeanyi George and prodigee, Ifeanyi Okoro are rearing to go and deliver the goals for the victory.
For the visitors, they boast of the likes of Julius Ubido, Emmanuel Olowo, Uche Oguchi, Okey Nwadike, Ike Thankgod and Ebele Obi to help them leave Enugu unscratched.
Going into this fixture, Rangers occupy the 10th position on the log with 30 points from 23 matches while their guest, the ‘Naze Millionaires’ bring up the rear with 19 points from 22 matches.