March 29, 2017

CAF Champions League: Rangers seek 3-0 win to stop Zamalek

The rivalry between Nigeria and Egypt in continental football will be rekindled today as Rangers confront Zamalek in a return leg round of 32 clash of the CAF Champions League billed for the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu.

Following a 1 – 4 loss in the first leg tie, the reigning Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) champions need at least a 3-0 win to bundle Zamalek out of the lucrative championship.

Rangers had on two occasions subdued Egyptian opposition first in 1975 when they clinched a 3-0 win over Ghazl Al-Mehallah after a 1-3 loss in Egypt to qualify for the final of the championship then known as the African Champions Cup; and the second in 2003 when the Flying Antelopes in the quarter-final spanked Al-Ahly 4-0 in Enugu and settled for a barren draw in the reverse fixture.

Interestingly, as Nigerians are busy praying for Rangers day of glory today, another Nigerian, Stanley Ohawuchi is praying in the opposite that would see the five-time African champions leave Enugu with a qualification ticket.

Ohawuchi, a former Heartland FC forward opened the scoring for the Mediterranean Knights in Cairo last Sunday, before Hossam Salama, Ayman Hefni and Mostafa Fathi followed suit, while Rangers’ consolatory goal came through Booby Clement with four minutes left.

However, central attacker, Edoh Ocheme believes Rangers will turn the tables against the visitors today insisted that nothing is impossible in football.

“I’m still confused how we conceded those number of goals I think the goals are simply too many. I never thought we could concede more than a goal in the encounter I wept profusely when the goals kept coming that we were three goals down in the first 45 minutes.

“Well we have come to accept the outcome as it’s as no amount of crying could change the result of the match.

“Right now we have our jobs well cut out as we must score at least three unreplied goals to progress to the next stage of the competition.

“The task looks daunting but not insurmountable once we are able to do the needful as well as prepare adequately for the reverse fixture.

“All hopes are not lost as we are quite capable of scoring the three mandatory goals in the first 45 minutes just as Zamalek SC performed at their backyard in Cairo.

“At least we have role models in Barcelona to copy as well as look up to as we get ready for the reverse clash.

“Barcelona have shown that in football nothing is conclusively done and dust until it’s completely over.

“That’s the mentality we will bring into the second leg coupled with some self-belief and I’m sure we will upturn the disadvantage to advance to the next stage of the competition,” the former Giwa FC player told supersport.com.