Rangers International going, going . . .

By Daily Sports on April 10, 2017

Many issues are subjects of discussion in the sports circle. Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung was in Calabar, Cross River State where he made it clear that the state still has the right to host the National Sports Festival until it says otherwise or the National Council on Sports pronouncement.

To put it mildly, he has been here and there performing one function or the other. For instance he received Commonwealth Queen’s touch with Governor Akinwunmi Ambode in Lagos. He also met with the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) to fine-tune modalities for the long overdue sports federations’ elections.

Very significant also, is the news that NFF owes technical adviser, Gernot Rohr, three months’ salaries. It is also no hidden fact that the football house owes Super Eagles players long match arrears, which NFF President, Amaju Pinnick specifically addressed when he met the players in London last Month.

Though, Rohr has come out to dance round his salary issue without much clue. However, it is authoritative that he is being owed.

My worry is that these signs are not good ones. They are like time bomb and their explosion could be too devastating on our most crucial 2018 World Cup qualifying game against Cameroun in August in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

The NFF leadership the other day ran to the Minister to ask for its money to fix what it described as spur of the moment financial obligations but Dalung instead queried how it spent whopping $500, 000 for the friendly against Senegal.

It was learnt that talk is ongoing to resolve that. My candid take is, the earlier Rohr’s salaries and players’ long arrears are paid, the better for the continued cohesion and confidence that is fast gaining root and hold in the young Eagles team.

As the above and more were happening so also Rangers International are having full dose of defeat in the Nigeria Professional Football League.

Let me make it abundantly clear from the onset that Rangers International is strictly symbol of Igbo nation, make no mistake about it. As the team currently flops, so also Ndigbo is.

A brief, Rangers was formed shortly after that Nigeria’s senseless genocide against Ndigbo which brought to the fore the resilient nature of Umu Igbo, which no doubt remain unbelievable by her detractors. The team survived against all odds, artificial stigma flaunted by her enemies. It represented the Igbo nation absolutely well as they were just coming out from the civil war. Rangers International lingered on strongly and fast tracked the name of mere envy from their supposedly other ‘brothers’ in the Nigeria fold planned to destroy entirely out of Mother Earth. Rangers quickly wrote our name on the sands of time. We became people to be reckoned with instantly.

Rangers, was specifically founded to represent this historic, heroic, Iconic and Bravo symbol that was not given a chance of survival. The team was driven on that direction and platform. Igbo boys formed the bulk from beginning. The strictly Igbo boys football team then showed clout, gritty, bravery, symbolic and what have you, which took then Nigeria Division One League by storm cum the continent.

It became an instant and classic of a suicide squad by Ndigbo and for Ndigbo. Every lip of majority fans became synonymous with Rangers International.  It was Rangers and other teams. It was yet, another mark of ingenuity of the Rising Sun indigenes at work. It is that extra hard work by the founding fathers and sundry is about being rubbished by the few. The purpose with which it was founded was boosted and our name cast on the marble. The Igbo nation primed for extinction by Ndigbo chronic haters bounced back better. And behold, it has continued to march forward ever and waxing stronger.  Through the unparalleled display by Rangers we steadied and started setting the tone in other areas of human endeavour to their disbelief till date. The enemies within thought all young men of Ndigbo have been wiped away by that genocide. Rangers International boys peopled by Umu Igbo made them green with envy. The team represented ‘There’s no killing of Ndigbo’ saying as Volkswagen said of it product - Bettles. No matter the kind of revenge strategy deployed. Rangers became a never say die strike force in the field of play continentally.

It later became the pride of the nation that planned and executed the genocide against her. Nigeria without conscience filled with men without honour. That hatred of Ndigbo still lingers on. They have been afraid of that reverend nation from ages. But we are marching steadily on despite their naught and bastardised hypocritical attitude toward us.  

Do you ever know that the first non - Igbo to lace his boots for Rangers is Adokie Amiesimaka? He was recommended by late veteran administrator, Akioye to Rangers Patron veteran Isidore Oduah who instantly beaconed on his friend former Governor of old Anambra State, Chief Jim Nwobodo who was Rangers Chairman.

The University of Lagos trained Lawyer was recruited into the then much sort after and foremost club side in the country, he was given Beetles Volkswagen as he requested.  Patrick Ekeji also a product of University of Nigeria, Nsukka had his too. What a team with solid historic background.

Adokie was a dazzling left winger and he did well in Rangers.

The team’s administrators, management and the host government weathered the storm no matter the thickness of any teething circumstances. Rangers have the singular honour as the only team that has not gone on relegation since its formation in the early 1970’s. Heartland of Owerri former Spartans FC lost that status last season, no thanks to Governor Anayo Okorocha’s disposition towards funding the team.

Shamefully, today as it is, I don’t know of tomorrow, such well-articulated historic stride by Rangers founding fathers may be in sight for the Enugu based team. Rangers International, Ime Obi Ndigbo is fast on the verge of going down the ladder, to the lesser second tier of our league.

The founding fathers like late Jerry Enyeazu, resourceful Chairman, late Eze BSC Nzenwa, late players that contributed immensely to the steady and formidable prowess of the Flying Antelopes then among others are by now turning angrily in their blessed graves.

This iroko tree is about going down and we knew that Iroko tree never falls. Whoever has hand in this abnormality must hands off., otherwise, otherwise!!

Rangers are Enyi Ndigbo. Ofor Ndigbo, Symbol of Ohaneze Ndigbo. What has gone amiss? I’m further tempted to ask, what went astray?  In my inner mind, Governor Ifeanyichukwu Ugwuanyi that showed lots of determination at the beginning must give answers to the above posers. He has the yam and knife. Precision and decisive action of find lasting solution to the slide we crave for.

Again, let me be honest with you, Christian Chukwu is at the centre of this steady decline. I watched Rangers against the more youthful and less experienced MFM FC of Lagos at Agege Stadium and was thoroughly diminished as Igbo man and Sports Journalist. It was non- committal at its peak by the players. Imama, the head coach just stayed aloft with his hands folded watching his lads putting every foot wrong. Chukwu was at the VIP stand chatting away with his Lagos friends. Sports Commissioner, Charles Ndukwe was helpless.  Amobi Ezeaku was restless and grief written boldly on his face. I consoled him after the encounter, Rangers has no business losing.

My candid take here is that if Ugwuanyi insists Chukwu must be, he should as a matter of urgency redeploy him to the Governor’s Office as Special Adviser on Sports. The wall of Rangers team is fast crumbling.

As a matter of fact, the series of meetings the Enugu State House of Assembly Committee on Sports have held with Chukwu, what impact has it made on the team? Rangers’ side is a mere shadow of its self presently. The focus now should be how to remain afloat in NPFL nothing more. Rangers have lost grip.

Yes, Imama allowed himself to be swallowed by last season’s victory as he became a tin god. A typical saying that, Pride goes before a fall is real here. Imama is a perfect example. He is leading our landmark Rangers into a fearful depth ditch.

It will be the shame of Ndigbo if Rangers fail the NPFL test this season.  Ugwuanyi will engrave his name on the refuse dump of history as one that presided over the undertaking and funeral rites of the very football team that wiped our tears on the face of Ndigbo and engraved their  name in DIAMOND shortly after that organised genocide by the Nigerian government.

A recap, Rangers is at the 20th position of the 20 team log in NPFL. There is enormous job to be done if the team must swim out of relegation water. Sadly, nothing concrete is afoot. I’m never interested in the then three matches mandate to Coach Imama, which he woefully failed deliver. Truth is Rangers have multi-faceted problems, grossly inadequate funding, Christian Chukwu’s factor and poor recruitment of players by Imama.

How it will survive this down turn remains to be seen but as long as Chukwu remains in the team, it will be Nigeria National League here we come for our dear Rangers.

We will keep the tab as we have done three write ups on the team this season alone, 15 stories and one incisive personality interview from Prince Oduah on the squad, it dealt on what the team must do to defend the NPFL and the lost CAF Champs League.

Rangers today’s story is bitter in the mouth. I tried to paraphrase it though painfully. It is purely a story of the resurgence of Ndigbo in Nigeria it co-founded. Forgive me if in some areas I sounded so bitter. See it strictly as a sign of the time if you are in my shoes. Don’t see it as if I’m writing death script for Rangers. God forbid. Trust discussion continues in WhatsAPP and Twitter. Keep shooting hard, till next week!!

Source Daily Sports

Posted April 10, 2017


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