The ‘Cathedral’, Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu will be the venue for the re-scheduled match day 7 NPFL tie between continental gladiators, Rangers International F.C and visiting Lobi Stars F.C in a top of the bill fixture expected to be an end-to-end stuff with continental flavor.
Host, Rangers has been in a rich vein of form since exiting the CAF Confederation cup at the group stage churning out results both home and away that has seen the ‘Flying Antelopes’ go eleven games unbeaten in the NPFL and occupying the top position of Group A in the abridged league.
Just coming back from two back-to-back wins on the road, the coach Olugbenga Ogunbote tutored side will be all out for a win against the visitors that have been having it easy with the Enugu side in the past three season with the most recent a 1-1 draw in a pre-season friendly match in Enugu.
The encounter will see the two most experienced gaffers in the league go head-to-head after Ogunbote beat Ogbeide to the NFF/Aiteo coach-of-the-year 2018 award recently with the Ijebu-Ode born tactician looking to have another one over the Edo born, much travelled, gaffer on the pitch.
Coach Ogunbote said ahead of the crunch encounter, “I expect a very tough match from Lobi Stars but by God’s grace, we shall earn the needed result to keep us ahead of the chasing pack. I have a team that is on the ascendancy and God willing we shall make our fans happy at the end of the match.”
Joint top scorer for the Enugu giants, Godwin Aguda said, “We are really set for a good game against Lobi on Wednesday with great optimism for another victory by God’ grace. Any day, Lobi is a strong team and they did well on the continent like us and we expect them to come out strong but I believe that we shall carry the day. I urge our fans to come out in their numbers to sing and cheer us to another win.”
Also speaking ahead of the tie, former Super Eagles wing-back for the visitors, Solomon Kwambe said, “I think that the loss we had in Akure we have forgotten about it and you can see the outcome in Lagos. We came to Enugu with a positive mindset that it will end on a positive note. I think that we are at home as we played our continental matches in Enugu and I believe that will also count for us. No doubt, the game of football can be interesting. No doubt, e have been have it easy over Rangers in the past but the game can change tomorrow but I strongly believe that we shall leave with our heads held high.”
Rangers coach will be banking on the team that fetched him double win on the road against Kwara United and Sunshine Stars to do the battle while looking up to the return of his mercurial midfielder, Ibrahim Ajani while Bright Silas, Michael Uchebo, Solomon Okpako and Bobby Clement are major doubts but inform Ivorian attacking sensation, Seka Pascal will most likely lead the attack.
The visitors’ coach, Ogbeide, will be looking to have pint sized, Sunday Ekleche running down the flanks to provide the crosses for Samad Kadiri, Austin Ogunye and Sikiru Alimi to pry open the solid back of the host while relying Yaya Kone, Kelly Kester and Dare Ojo to do the midfield battle.
The form of the two sides in the last five games reads: DDWWW for Rangers and LDWLD for Lobi Stars.
Rangers is currently occupying the summit of the Group A log with 27 points from twelve matches while Lobi Stars occupies the 4th place with 21 points from fourteen matches heading into this encounter.