By Sam Oditah/Umuahia
Enugu Rangers, the defending champions of the Nigerian Professional Football League plunged to new lows on Sunday after they were trounced 0-4 by Abia Warriors Football Club of Umuahia.
The match Umuahia Township Stadium was a Match Day 21 fixture in the 2016/2017 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).
Sunday Adetunji opened scores in the sixth minute of the encounter, when his strike a few metres from outside Rangers’ penalty kick area caught goalkeeper Saidu Matawakilu off-guard.
Diminutive midfielder, Anthony Okemiri, who was unmarked in the Rangers defence, floated the ball over an already displaced goalkeeper to score the second goal in the 15th minute.
Adetunji recorded a brace in the 80th minute during a goal-mouth scramble for Warriors’ third goal. Samson Obi completed the decimation of the Antelopes in the 85th minute.
After the match, Abia Warriors’ coach Abdullahi Biffo gave kudos to his players for being able to re-write the club’s football history with victory over Rangers both home and away.
“Abia Warriors had never defeated Rangers at home before, but thank God we have achieved that today.”
He said he worked on the players’ psychology and encouraged them not to allow the past record to affect their approach to the game.
“I encouraged them to approach the game with a positive mind and not to allow past record to weigh them down,” the coach said.
He however expressed disappointment with Rangers’ lacklustre performance, saying he had prepared his team very well for the match with the thinking Rangers would prove a hard nut to crack.
Dumbfounded Rangers’ coach Uche Agbo and team captain shunned the post-match interviews.
But a cross-section of Rangers’ fans expressed their unhappiness with the Enugu club’s present situation.
One of them, Ndubuisi Emesiabum, told NAN he was utterly disappointed with the performance of Rangers, describing the team as a shadow of itself.
“I had since stopped watching the country’s league, but when I heard that Rangers were coming to play Abia Warriors, I decided to come and watch them because they were very spectacular last season.
“It is however regrettable that the team could not live up to the expectations of its fans,” Emesiabum said.
He advised the club’s management to carry out an analysis in order to identify the problem confronting the team and seek the way forward.
“Rangers is a darling team to every Igboman. The present club management and the Enugu State Government should take urgent steps to return the team to winning ways,” he said.
Rangers are now 15th on the table, with 26 points after 21 games played. Abia Warriors are eighth with 31 points. Plateau United, with 39 points and El-kanemi Warriors, 36 points are first and sceond. IfeanyiUbah and MFM are tied at 34 points.