Rangers International Football Club is a football club formed in 1970 after the unfortunate Nigerian Biafra war. The aim among other things was to foster unity and assuage the bad memories of the said war. Upon its formation, Rangers took the football circle by storm and her dominance both in laurels won and human development was unquestionable. Rangers as at then produced footballers unarguably could be regarded as the blaze trailers, pathfinders or even called the evolutionists of modern Nigerian football. Worthy to mention amongst these great players are the likes of Chairman Christian Chukwu, Emmanuel Okala, Taribo West, Adokieye Amasiemeka, Silvanus Okpala, Dominic Nwobodo, Tony Orji, Louis Igwilo, Jay-Jay Okocha to mention but a few. Within the space of 14 years of her existence, Rangers had won six domestic league and 7 FA cups not to talk about continental laurels in their kitty. National Team of Nigeria otherwise known as Green Eagles then use to have 60 percent of Rangers players in their ranks. But after their league cup victory in 1984 under the tutelage of Chairman Christian Chukwu, Rangers went into oblivion. It was near misses and permutation every year. Some say Rangers have been cursed while some attributed the failures on managerial ineptitude. Rangers came to wining the league in 2001 but the unfortunate introduction of super four rubbed them off that year’s diadem. In 2012 under Coach Okey Emeordi, Rangers came tops but out of share ethnic and tribal sentiments, Baribote Romson’s board again denied Rangers yet another opportunity of being crowned champions that year.
Conversely, on Sunday the 2nd of October, 2016, Rangers International Football Club otherwise known as the Flying Antelopes against all odds were crowned the 2015/2016 NPFl Champions at Nnamdi Azikwe Stadium nicknamed “The Cathedral with people from all over the globe in attendance.” Among these dignitaries were, the number one supporter and financier, Rt Hon-Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, the Executive Governor of Enugu State, Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremmadu, Hon. Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Hon Charles Ndukwe, NFF President, Amadju Melvin Pinnick, LMC chairman, Shehu Diko among other notable stake- holders, captains of industries, press men, and over 35 thousand supporters in attendance to cheer Rangers in her last match against El-kanemi in which Rangers trashed them 4 goals to nothing. To get this far, Rangers played 36 matches in all because Giwa was expelled from the league. They played 18 matches away, won three and drew six making it a total of 15 points at away. While in the home front, they equally played 18 matches, won 15 drew 3 and gathered 48 points summing them to 63 points.
Many had begged that the award wining Coach, Coach Imama Amapakabo, his coaching crew, back room staff and that of players should be kept intact. Happily, the commissioner for youth & sports Enugu State, Mr. Charles Ndukwe had allayed the fears of Rangers supporters by assuring them that they will maintain the status quo. We say congratulations to the pride of Igbo nation; Rangers International Football Club of Enugu.
SOME OF THE FANS OPINION AFTER THE VICTORY
Chinasa Anthonia Chime
For me, it was a different story for Rangers this time around on like before when Rangers name will be mentioned and everybody will take them as team that is not serious. But this time around, they surprised everybody by winning the league. Actually, I thank God, the coaches and the fans for coming out in their numbers to come and watch Rangers.
My take is that God has done it after 32 years. The next step is that they should not relax knowing that they will be playing in the continent come next season. The players and coaches should be kept intact and fresh players included to argument the team for next season. The players should eschew complacency and pride and play to coaches’ instruction. Rangers management should increase the salaries of players so that they will remain with the club come next season.
For me, it was a rebirth of history. In 1984, which was the last time they won their last trophy, the present president of Nigeria, Mohammad Buhari was the Head of State and our own Navy Captain Allison Madueke was the military administor of our state then. And now they have won again, Buhari is still the democratically elected President of our country. I advice Rangers Management and that of Enugu State Government to ensure that the present crop of players are kept intact for the ultimate goal of winning the African CAF Champions League. I also pray for the quick recovering the injured player, Ifeanyi Egwim whom God had used to avert mishap that could have happened as a result of too many crowds that came to watch Rangers that day.