By Emmanuel Afonne
Facts have emerged on why Rangers International FC of Enugu was able to defeat Heartland of Owerri, in a rescheduled Match Day 23 encounter of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) in Enugu on Sunday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Rangers who have not won a game in their last four outings got the only goal of the match in the 13th minute through Ifeanyi George.
NAN learnt that some of the key players were placed on half salary as a punitive measure for them to better their game.
The Team Manager (TM) of Rangers, Amobi Ezeaku, told NAN that the slashing of salaries by 50 per cent was on the instructions of the General Manager, Davidson Owumi.
“The club’s General Manager, Owumi ordered a pay cut for some of the players who felt they have arrived, pending when they improved their game.
“We saw players like Ifeanyi George, Felix Onyedika Ogbuke and Ibrahim, playing their hearts out.
“Definitely, within the week they will smile because they have proved their mettle in the field of play,’’ he told NAN explaining the secret behind the win.
“This is because in Rangers, we run a very open and dynamic administration; traditionally, Rangers is known to be a team that parades good players but in football sometimes, luck comes to play.
“Our game against Heartland was a special one because it was an oriental derby and the boys had to up their game and we all saw the mentality with which they played.
“The players know that their contracts were based on performance, and that whatever they give out is what they take in.’’
The Rangers TM assured their fans that the players’ salaries would be restored in full after the defeat of Heartland.
He said the players’ winning bonuses was paid to them on Monday as the team had never delayed payment of players winning bonuses beyond 48 hours.
According to Ezeaku, the management of the club will ensure it secures a continental ticket at the end of the current NPFL season.
“If you look at the current form and the mentality of the team, the tactics and the capability of the technical crew, you will see that we are on the ascendency now and we don’t want to go down again.
“We want to maintain the momentum and continue rising; we know that clinching the trophy may be a bit difficult but then, it is not out of place to play in the continent.
“We have to go and rest because of the World Cup break and when we come back we will play Nasarawa United at home.
“And that is a game we will want to win to take us to 36 points in the league.
It will be recalled that Rangers popularly known as “The Flying Antelopes’’, had in the first phase of the league defeated Heartland FC by a lone goal in Owerri.
Heartland are currently occupying the 20th position in the league with 19 points from 23 matches.