- Rangers International or Enugu Rangers as they are called these days have been in the news after they let go of their coach, Benedict Ugwu on Sunday, November 24, 2019. Up
Rangers had suffered their 3rd loss of the 5 Match Day old league, including two of them at home so it was time to go and the coach was asked to step aside.
It took three days to appoint a caretaker coach or a stop gap one, if you like, when they announced Salisu Yusuf and Mbwas Mangut after what seemed like a crisis.
There were rumours that Ugwu was on his way back and other mentioned Sylvanus Okpalla and even Imama Amapakabo, but eventually the Super Eagles man got the job.
However, there is a crisis in the team that their fans do not know about and this situation may either engulf the team on Sunday in their CAF Confederation Cup game against Pyramid or they rise above it and win
Owumi wants Rangers fans to act like Liverpool fans
General Manager of Rangers International, Davidson Owumi told NigerianFootballer.com that he wants fans of the club to go into Sunday’s CAF Confederation Cup game feeling like Liverpool fans.
“How would Liverpool fans feel going into a game and they know their team will be playing without Mohammed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino? Owumi asked.
“That is how I want our fans to feel because we have a serious crisis in the team and unless they know it they will not appreciate our situation,” the General Manager continued.
“Eleven first team players are injured and it our current situation which I hope the coaches can manage and see us out if this situation.”
Owumi mentioned Ajani Ibrahim, Godspower Aniefiok, Ikechukwu Ibenegbu, Uche John, Akpos Adubi, Pape Ousmane Sane, Semiu and Traore amongst the injured eleven players stating that five were hospitalized while the other had medics working round the clock to ensure they will be ready for the game.
“What I have just told you is the reality on ground. I do not think Barcelona will be the same if they play without Messi and Suarez so that is what we are facing.
“All this little politicking is not an issue now. We just need to stabilize the team and see how far we can go with the team until our key players recover.
“If these guys recover, then we will present a very good team. We have players that qualified this team. We didn’t just jump into the group stage, even with the league not on, we have players who did this. But ninety percent of the players who played those games are injured. That is the crisis we are in right now,” Owumi lamented.
Can Rangers survive Pyramids?
Despite a poor start to the current local league season, Rangers however are optimistic of kicking off the group stage of the competition on a positive note against Egyptian Cup champions, Pyramids FC.
History has however shown that Rangers always get results against Egyptian opposition with the most recent one being the triumph over Zamalek FC at “The Cathedral” in 2017 while few years before, Al-Ahly could not describe what hit them against a top squad put together by Lawrence Akpokona.
Further back, down the years, Ghazl El Mahalla did see “Wahala” in Enugu on November 8, 1975 in a second leg, semi-final tie as Mathias Obianika, Ogidi Ibeabuchi and substitute, Dominic Nwobodo helped the “Golden Generation” to a 4-3 aggregate win to progress to the finals of 1975 CAF Champions league that was eventually lost to Hafia F.C of Guinea.
To get to this stage of the competition, Rangers brushed past Gabonese champions, A.S Pelican 4-3 on aggregate in the first round while the away goals rule was applied in their favor after the play-off fixture with Togolese side, A.S.C Kara had ended 2-2 on aggregate while the visitors pride themselves of a complete demolition of Tanzanian champions, Young Africans F.C with a 5-1 aggregate score over two legs.
Rangers will be banking on the collective play of Ifeanyi George, Ibrahim Olawoyin, Chinonso Eziekwe and Agu Kenechukwu to do the damage against the rampaging Pyramids who are currently placed second in the Egyptian Premier league with 12 points from 6 games scoring 13 goals and getting cracked seven times for three wins and three drawn games with such names as Ali Gabr, Mohamed Hamdi, Ragab Bakar and Wilfried Kanon expected to provide cover for Egyptian international shot stopper, Ahmed El-Shenawy.
The visiting team that is 38 years younger than Rangers enjoys a lot of support from its owner, Salem Al Shamsi who did well to attract over 13 national team players under French gaffer, Sebastien Desabre would be missing the services of its top marksman, Abdallah El-Said, who has five goals and four assists thus far in the season just as Rangers rues the absence of the likes of Ikechukwu Ibenegbu, Uche John, Akpos Adubi, Pape Ousmane Sane and a few others that are hit with one form of injury or the other.
Salisu, Madu show positivity
Despite joining the ‘Flying Antelopes’ very close to this encounter, Salisu Yusuf is positive of the outcome of the encounter as he said, “The boys have been very positive in the few training sessions we had and I believe that by the grace of God we shall have cause to celebrate after the match. We really did not change anything we met on ground but just tried to make the players have more self-belief.”
Also speaking, midfield maestro, Chiamaka Madu said, “Sure it’s going to be a tough game but we shall give them a run for their money on Sunday. We are ready to work with our new coach, Salisu Yusuf and his assistants, Mbwas Mangut and John Edeh. I believe that together, we shall deliver the goods for our teaming followers and make our club great again. We have resolved to work hard and bring back our fans to the stadium after the experiences of the past weeks. On Sunday, we hope to put smiles on the faces of our ardent followers.”
For coach Salisu Yusuf and his assistants, they have the formation to counter the 4-1-2-2-1 that would most likely be deployed by 44-year-old Desabre who counts on the speed and skills of Eric Traore, Mohamed Farouk, John Antwi and Lumala Abdu.