With the end of the abridged NPFL 2018/2019 season in sight and teams jostling to make the ‘Super Six’ playoff as well as avoid the dreaded drop to the lower division, host of match day 20 fixture between ‘Eternal Rivals’, Rangers International and Bendel Insurance have vowed to deny the ‘Benin Arsenals’ any Insurance policy.
Smarting from a 1-0 loss to fellow continental cup campaigners, Lobi Stars, in a match day 19 fixture in Makurdi to cut their points lead at the top to four points, coach Olugbenga Ogunbote and his wards are in no mood to toil with the maximum points at stake in the top of the bill encounter scheduled for the main bowl of Nnamdi Azikiwe stadium, Enugu.
Despite most of its starters been down with one form of injury or the other, with the latest addition of the trio of Ifeanyi George, Seka Pascal and Zeidine Ousmane, coach Ogunbote is optimistic of earning all three points at stake against the visiting side from Benin complete with a former Rangers coach, Monday Odigie and some sons of Enugu state led by Adimoranma Eze and Kingsley Onovo.
Rangers gaffer will likely be looking towards the returning quartet of Godwin Zaki, Ifeanyi Okoro, Michael Uchebo and Emeka Ayogueke to lead the attack for the ‘Flying Antelopes’ against a crack defense squad expected to be paraded by coach Odigie ably led by Ebiaku Promise Sylvanus, Odinaka Edeh, Sodje Stephen and Benjamin Tanimu.
In the reverse fixture played on Thursday, April 25, 2019 inside UNIBEN Sports Complex, Ugbowo, it took a controversial sending off of Rangers’ Ivorian attacking sensation, Seka Pascal on 21 minutes of play for the ‘Arsenals’ to run away with a 2-1 victory courtesy of goals from Junior Osaghae and Sodje Stephen with Kelvin Itoya replying once for the ‘Flying Antelopes’.
Insurance have done its battle against the dreaded drop from the top division a whole lot of good in the last three fixture earning valuable win at home against Katsina United and draws with Kwara United and Niger Tornadoes to move to the 7th place on the log with 25 points while Rangers have kept their place at the summit of the group A log with 34 points despite losing four of its last five matches.
Coach Ogunbote said ahead of the crunch match, “I think its an important game for us. It’s a match that will give us qualification ticket to the ‘Super-Six’ so we will give all the attention it requires and by God’ grace, we will get it right. Yes, we have injury worries but I think we still have a few players to play the game for us because, we are bound to play. With the few strong legs we still have, we shall get the needed result.”
He further said, “All I know is that whenever any team is to play Rangers, they prepare extra hard to contain us. I am not bothered by the number of Enugu boys in Insurance or the fact that their coach formally worked here. All we are set to do is work harder to overcome whatever they shall come up with on match day. It will be a grudge match as we hope to take our pound of flesh looking back at the way and manner we lost in Benin.”
Going down memory lane, every encounter between both sides have never failed to live up to its billings with the likes of Monday Agbontean, Bright Omokaro, Agwo Nnaji, Monday Eguavoen, Francis Monidafe, Leotis Boateng, George Omokaro, Henry Ogboe, Sunday Eboigbe, Fitting Amenaghawon and a host of others appearing for the Benin side against such names as the legendry, Christian Chukwu, Emmanuel Okala, Louis Igwilo, Aloysius Atuegbu, Ogidi Ibeabuchi, Christian Madu, Nnamdi Nwokocha, Kenneth Boardman, Davidson Owumi, Stanley Okoronkwo, Francis Nwosu, John Uwanaka, Emeka Onyedika, Nwabueze Nwankwo and many others too numerous to mention.
So, fans are urged to come out in their numbers to catch the new generation ‘Soldiers’ defending their various clubs’ colors come Wednesday, May 15, 2019 at ‘The Cathedral’, Nnamdi Azikiwe stadium, Enugu.