Rangers International F.C was practically denied any ‘Insurance Policy’ as they bowed out of the inaugural edition of NPFL/DMF Preseason Super Cup Tournament 2022.
The team lost their last match 2-1 to age-long rivals, Bendel Insurance F.C to exit the tournament without a win inside the Mobolaji Johnson Sports Arena, Lagos.
In a match that had top stakeholders that included the Minister for Youth & Sports, Sunday Dare; NFF Vice-President, Chief Felix Anyansi-Agwu; NRA President, Tade Azziz; I.M.C chairman, Hon. Gbenga Elegbeleye; I.M.C Chief Operating Officer, Prince Davidson Owumi, and a host of others, saw the Enugu side take the lead in 42 minutes as Elijah Ani stabbed home from close range.
The ‘Benin Arsenals’ took the fight to their more illustrious brothers and leveled up scores on the stroke of halftime when Dede Moughara’ well drilled free kick from the edge of the box deflected off the wall of defense sailed into the net while a handball situation on 67 minutes awarded Insurance, was neatly converted by Benjamin Tanimu.
Efforts made by the ‘Flying Antelopes’ to grab the equalizer and even the winning goal failed to see the light of the day as a goalkeeper, Amas Obasogie and his defenders put in extra work to ward off several attacks aimed at their goal.
Coach Abdul Maikaba praised the efforts put in by his players during the match despite the loss, stressing, “It was a good match that we unfortunately lost. This was not the result we wanted or worked for but we have to take the result as we have them while drawing some lessons with a view to correcting our area of weakness. It is good it happened now rather than later in the league proper.”
In his reaction to the loss, the captain of the side, Uche John said, “The result we got in this tournament was a rude shock to us as we had come here to be crowned champions but it seems that mother luck deserted us. Thank God it happened now for us to know that we really need to work harder before the start of the new league season.”
Earlier in the day, it was a no victor, no vanquished as Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) of Ibadan and Enyimba FC of Aba battled to a goalless draw on match day three as the result was good enough to earn both sides the final slots of the money-spinning preseason tourney.
The result leaves the People’s Elephants as the first team on the log with seven points, while the ‘Oluyole Warriors’ garnered five points to finish second.
The bone of contention in the grand finale is One Hundred Million only to be carted home by the winner.
There are also individual awards for grabs as the highest goal scorer will grab a golden boot and the sum of one million naira, while the tourney’s overall Most Valuable Player (MVP) will also smile home with one million Naira.