Katsina United stand in way of Rangers’ successive wins


Seven-time NPFL champions Rangers International will look to sew up back-to-back wins for the first time in the league since August last year when they play hosts to Katsina United at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium in Enugu this Wednesday.

Reminiscence of last season, it was same Katsina United that Rangers defeated 2-1 after coming off a 1-0 win over Sunshine Stars before making it three wins in three with a 2-1 success at Remo Stars.

This time, the setting remains the same – the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium – but under a different guard of Gbenga Ogunbote whose has brought quite a number of new faces.

The Flying Antelopes put life into their campaign with a 1-0 win over Oriental rivals Heartland in Owerri after defeats to Akwa United and Lobi Stars in their opening two games of the season.

However Katsina United stand in their way to achieving their first back-to-back win of this season.

Both clubs even had an off-season mini kind of spat over striker Chinedu Udechukwu. Rangers thought they had their man despite Katsina United placing a N50 million buyout clause on the forward. Anyway all of that broke down and both clubs have since moved on.

Last season in this same fixture, Rangers did just enough to edge past Katsina United. The Flying Antelopes won 2-1 but had to work for it.

It was an affair for the Madus, Chibuzor and Christian (who are no relatives), on that day as they scored a goal each while Timothy Danladi’s strike was sandwiched in between.

Rangers head coach Ogunbote believes that the 1-0 success at Heartland over the weekend will lead to a run of wins starting with the contest against Katsina United.

“Yes, it was really a challenging time for the team but with the victory in Owerri, I strongly believe that the difficult phase of our preparations for an appreciable finish at the end of the season has lapsed and it is now a period of winnings,” said Ogunbote.

With a 4-4-2 formation, Ogunbote would be looking to stop the attacking threats of Destiny Ashadi, Tasiu Lawal, Martins Usule, Chinedu Ajanah and Usman Barau while banking on the speed and experience of Bright Silas, Ifeanyi George, Godwin Aguda and Tayo Fabiyi to produce the goals for the home side.

Katsina United who did well last season to remain in the top flight after three other teams got promoted with them dropped back to the second tier. The Katsina club started off decently this term with a 2-2 home draw against Kano Pillars, suffered a 2-1 reverse at Sunshine Stars and then stunned two-time CAF Champions League winners Enyimba 2-0 over the weekend.

Now their head coach Abdullahi Biffo is hoping to combine good football and result in the Coal City.

“I expect a great game from our hosts, Rangers, who no doubt, are a good side any day. All we are coming to Enugu to do is to enjoy our game and entertain football fans. Anything is very possible in this game,” the former Abia Warriors trainer said.

Despite the possible absence of Tope Olusesi, Brownbraye Okpus and Ajani Ibrahim owing to injuries, Ogunbote and Rangers will hope to make it two wins in two games though Katsina United could play spoilers at a ground now nicknamed ‘The Cathedral.’