Rangers match winner Madaki hails Salisu influence

By Fisayo Dairo

NPFL champions in 2016, Rangers climbed out of the relegation zone albeit on goals difference after a narrow 1-0 win over Jigawa Golden Stars in Enugu on Wednesday.

Rangers made a hard work of what was expected to be a straight forward home win as their visitors resisted for over an hour of football but young winger Dauda Madaki pounced when it mattered most with 20 minutes left after an excellent creation by his roommate Ibrahim Olawoyin.

Madaki was making only his second start of the season, the first in 2020 and the Benue-born star made a telling impact; troubling the visitors all day with his set-piece deliveries before eventually scoring the winner.

“I’m very happy and it is good to see that I was the one that scored the goal because it was a very difficult match,” Madaki told npfl.ng on Wednesday evening after dinner.

“The game was more difficult than what we expected but we are delighted to have won in the end,” he added.

Rangers turnaround under Salisu Yusuf

From losing their first two games and in fact failing to win any of their first seven matches under head coach Salisu Yusuf, the Enugu-based side have now turned their fortunes around; failing to lose any of their last nine matches in all competitions.

Six of those nine games have come in the league with Rangers earning 14 out of a possible 18 points. Madaki’s other league goal so far came under Salisu’s predecessor Benedict Ugwu in early November. He says the team’s outlook has changed since the change.

He continued: “The preparations for games have changed, right from our training sessions, we have been working hard to adjust to the tactics of the coach and see that we fill up all the gaps that we left in the league and it has been working well for us.

“We know it is going to be difficult for us in the remainder of the season because all the teams that will play with us will put their efforts 100% so we will keep working hard to be ready for that, win our home games and get as many points we can get away from home and bridge that gap we left behind,” he enthused.

Competition for places

Getting a place in the Rangers team sheet has been quite a herculean task for Madaki, in his first NPFL season. He has been reduced to bit-part roles for most part of the season.

He has been challenging for places with experienced league campaigners such as Godspower Aniefiok and Kelvin Itoya. The left-footed winger however believes the situation is good for him and for the team.

“The competition for places here is very good and it is a challenge for me. I’m a footballer and I can’t give up, always working hard to see that I reach the top so it’s good to see that I’m competing well against those big names,” said the ‘Jos boy.’

Madaki will be hoping to have more look-in in the squad as they enter a period of four matches in 11 days starting with the home tie with Akwa United in Enugu on Sunday.