The old rivals will take center stage in Ibadan tomorrow as they battle for the three points which will determine which team will win the Premier League title this season
Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State has been waiting for the biggest match of the Nigeria Premier League season and it is here finally. The supporters of Shooting Stars are eagerly anticipating a spectacle in this Week 35 game.
Old rivals, Shooting Stars Sports Club and Enugu Rangers will engage each other in this battle that will have a huge effect on who eventually wins the League shield this season.
Shooting Stars are presently on ninth position with 49 points on the league table, while Rangers are on top of the log with 58 points.
This makes the match more interesting. 3SC are itching to improve their standing on the table and find a way of grabbing one of the continental tickets, Rangers wants to remain on top of the league table until the end of the season.
Shooting Stars may not have started very well, but they witnessed a turn around that up till today remains a mystery to supporters of the Oluyole Warriors side.
The team started the season with Festus Allen as coach, but after six matches, they found out that the journey might be a hard long one for them and quickly acted by bringing in quality players after Allen was suspended.
Allen was not given the room to work and express himself, but the board of the team allowed Hakeem Busari and Yinka Odubona, Allen's assistants to continue with tinkering the team with enough experienced players that has elevated the side to the top half of the table.
Now Shooting Stars have become one of the teams that are expected to always win their home matches. They have won more than 10 matches since moving to the Lekan Salami Stadium and this match against Rangers is very important to the players and officials of the Ibadan side.
Coach Hakeem Busari revealed that they have trained very well for this game and are expected to win.
"Rangers are a good side. If they are not, then they will not be on top of the league table for a very long time. But that does not mean we are going to watch them do all the playing on Sunday.
"You can testify that Shooting Stars have become a strong side that should be respected. We have trained well. We have done all we need to do and I am sure that on Sunday, our supporters will smile again.
"The match is important for us because we need to win to improve our standing on the table and still nurse the hopes of getting a continental ticket at the end of the season," Busari said.
The Flying Antelopes handler, Okey Emordi also said that the game is one that they hope to win to further consolidate their position on the league table.
"It is not going to be an easy game. Shooting Stars have really improved and I expect them to come out fighting in this game. They need the match just like we also need to win the game.
"But I want to say that the luckier side will surely carry the game and I hope that side is my team. I admired the courage of the players of Shooting Stars in the first round game which we won 3-2.
"I am sure that match signalled the beginning of their revival and since then they have not looked back. But I have confidence in my players because they know what is at stake in this game.
"They are quite aware that we can win the league title at the Lekan Salami Stadium and they are raring to go," Emordi boasted.
Shooting Stars can boast of very good players who are eager to make a name for themselves. Former Kano Pillars striker, Moses Ogaga has settled well in Ibadan. Ogaga is expected to lead the attack alongside Thomas Adesina who on their good day can disgrace any defence line in the Premier League.
Seun Adeboye and Phillip Asuquo are the players Rangers will need to watch out for in the midfield. They have formed an important partnership and act as a good shield for their defenders.
Sylvester Ebiaku and Mutiu Adegoke play as wing backs and Adegoke has scored five goals from free kicks and penalties. He remains one of the dangerous players to watch out for.
Rangers will certainly miss their inspirational captain, James Okwuosa who is away on trial with Ajax Cape Town in South Africa.
But the Enugu side still have Ejike Uzoenyi, Chikeluba Ofoedu and Haliru Umar and together they will want to show they can rise to the occasion by getting a respectable result in the match.