By Ikenna Nwokedi
Rangers International FC of Enugu on Saturday defeated Doma United of Gombe by two goals to one at the Awka City Stadium, Anambra State in the season opener for the new 2023/2024 Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL).
A belter from outside the box by Kalu Nweke in the 29th minute off a swift team counter attacking play and Austin Onyemaechi tap-in inside the box in the 34th minute after being set up by Godwin Obaje gave the Flying Antelopes the lead into the break.
Bidemi Owoku gave the Savannah Tigers a lifeline in the 73rd minute assisted by Ifeanyi Ekawu to take the game to a nervy ending but the Flying Antelopes held on to take all the three points at stake at their adopted home ground.
The pulsating contest was the beginning of a new era for the Enugu-based side with a new Technical Adviser in the mould of experienced former MFM FC and Heartland FC handler, Fidelis Ilechukwu as well as the club new GM/CEO, Barr. Amobi Ezeka and the youthful Enugu State Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Hon. Lloyd Ekweremadu who was on ground to see the game.
Reacting after the match, Technical Adviser of Rangers Int’l FC, Fidelis Ilechukwu described the result as a good start for a renewed Rangers Int’l FC. The Flying Antelopes gaffer said he is poised to work on improving the team’s performance in subsequent games.
“Am delighted to start my campaign here with a win although it wasn’t an easy game as the tempo of the game changed when Doma United got a goal back. However, I am happy that the boys kept their composure and discipline to ease out the game for the three points. We have seen the areas we will work on and surely we will have a much improved performance in subsequent games,” Ilechukwu said.
On his part, Enugu State Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Hon. Lloyd Ekweremadu described the match as a fantastic game with his charges in total control of the game despite conceding in the second half but held their heads high to take home all the three points.
“I commend the boys for a good game today as it was a fantastic game, we led the game with two goals and could have scored more but we let in one and still held our nerves to see off the clash with all the three points available.
“The new management and technical crew have approached the season with lots of professionalism and they have a full support of the government of Enugu State. All we have to do it to give them the full supports necessary in taking the club to higher heights,” Ekweremadu said.