BY PAUL EREWUBA
Rangers International of Enugu, would this weekend, attempt to consolidate on their leadership position in the NPFL when they confront age long rivals, Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) in Ibadan tomorrow at the Adamasingba Stadium.
Rangers, last week, surprised Bookmakers with a 4 – 0 win over fellow title chasers, Rivers United to climb back to the first spot.
With the feat, the Enugu Antelopes now have 54 points from 32 matches and are poised for a showdown against the Oluyole Warriors for the coveted three points at stake.
But former 3SC winger, Olademiji Lawal said Rangers won’t have the last laugh as the Idadan warlords was set to cut short Rangers’ victory dance.
The Imama – tutored Rangers are four matches away from winning their first title after 32 years.
Their remaining four matches are away to Shooting Stars, at home to Sunshine Stars, then away to Ikorodu United, before they wrap up their campaign at home against El Kanemi Warriors.
Exuding confidence, Rangers goalkeeper, Nana Bonsu underlined the importance of their seriousness. “I’m confident we will not lose any game again this season.
We are winning the title and there is no doubt about that.
At the moment, we are very much focused.”
No doubt, the game against 3SC would definitely be a tough one as the Oluyole Warriors, who are14th on the log with 41 points, would do everything within their reach to turn the table against Rangers.
It is going to be a difficult game and there’s no doubt that 3SC know that winning the game is a must. The game is very important and a factor that will determine how serious they are to avoid relegation.
Indeed, the Oluyole Warriors are going into tomorrow’s encounter with confidence having beaten hard fighting Plateau 0 – 1 last week away.
And they would want to prove that their renewed form is not a fluke.
Elsewhere in Port Harcourt, Rivers United who trail Rangers by just one point, will try Warri Wolves for size. Wolves have been burdened with non payment of salaries and the players might not be in the best frame of mind to face Rivers United who are bent on wrestling the league title from Rangers.
Another interesting match is the one between Nasarawa United and another title contender, Wikki Tourists in Lafia.
Wikki, who are third on the log with 51 points would be hoping to come back on top of the league by defeating their host Nassarawa United.
Relegation threatened Heartland on daunting trip to El-Kanemi
Last week at the Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri, the Naze Millionaires, and Heartland fans went home disappointed, when another relegation threatened side, Ikorodu United piped them 0 -1.
The Owerri – based outfit, who was battling both non payment of players salaries and management issues is 17th on the table with 37 points after 32 games.
With four Premiership matches to draw the curtain closed, Heartland will this weekend embark on a daunting trip to El Kanemi Warriors this weekend.
Despite losing their week 32 game at home, Heartland goalkeeper Ebele Obi, is upbeat that the Owerri based outfit will not be relegated.
Ebele, who is the elder brother of Super Eagles captain, John Mikel Obi Heartland was unlucky against Ikorodu United.
He said he believes their fortune would change for the better, and they wish to pacify their fans by beating El Kanemi in order to shore up their points and shift from the relegation zone.
“We were unlucky against Ikorodu United, it’s a game we should have won with a wide margin but we couldn’t score goals from the numerous chances we created.”
“We will remain in the premier league no matter what and we are going to fight El Kanemi man to man when hostilities begin.”
Pillars’ Gyan talks tough ahead Ikorodu Utd tango
Relegation- bound Ikorodu United will host their northern counterparts, Kano Pillars tomorrow at the Agege Stadium, Lagos, as both teams clash in one of the four remaining matches of the NPFL.
Pillars, who started the league on a blistering note, but suddenly caved in, are 6th on the log with 48 points to show for their effort.
Last week at the Sani Abacha Stadium in Kano, Pillars hammered Sunshine Stars 2-0, while Ikorodu United did the unexpected by pipping Heartland 0- 1.
Although the Lagos based outfit is still stuck in the relegation mud, the match against Pillars promises to be tough and also interesting because both teams need the three points at stake to remain relevant.
Meanwhile, Pillars’ forward, Amos Gyan has dismissed Ikorodu United’s impressive run against Heartland last week with a wave of the left hand, insisting that the Ikorodu Bombers must fall at their own backyard.
He said his only desire now is to ensure that his ward secures a continental ticket and to achieve this feat, the four remaining matches are a must win.