Rangers and Heartland to set Enugu alight in oriental derby

The Flying Antelopes and the Naze Millionaires have a lot to play for as they step on the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium pitch on Sunday
After the Nigeria Professional Football League(NPFL) opening day thriller at Enugu between Rangers and Enyimba, another oriental derby beckons this weekend as Enugu Rangers set out for the maximum points at stake against Hheartland of Owerri at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium in Enugu.

Both clubs have reasons to take the Week 17 game very seriously with both teams showing contrasting fortunes in the league. With the massive recruiting done by the Flying Antelopes at the start of the season, it is hard to understand what has caused their faltering as they lie in mid-table though they have been involved in Caf Champions League and Confederation Cup games.

Rangers are in the group stage of the second tier Africa's clubs competition, Caf Confederation Cup but they have to have their aims and objectives for the season set in order to avoid chasing shadows.
The coal city side started the season brightly and even won away from home in Yenagoa against Nembe City as early as the Week two, but their performances have dropped with erratic display at some home matches and almost all the away games.

So, Rangers know that anything short of victory will no doubt dampen the spirits of the players and technical crew while a draw just like it was last season will be a good respite to the Naze Millionaires having just returned from two away ties in Abuja and Maiduguri against Kano Pillars and El Kanemi Warriors which they both lost 1-0.

But despite these losses in their last two matches, Heartland are still in the top three on the table after 16 games  in the season.

Rangers still have two matches outstanding although their officials have said they are three including the botched tie away to Wikki Tourists which the League Management Company(LMC) has awarded in favour of the host having warned Rangers the consequence of missing the tie but they must also not toy with the other two at home to 3SC on June 19 and Sharks in Port Harcourt on June 23.

Heartland's spokesperson, Cajetan Nkwopara told Goal that they have arrived Enugu with the mentality of going back to Owerri with at least a point to protect their unbeaten record of late against Rangers.

"We shall be facing a familiar foe on Sunday and we are going to psyche up the players and make them realise that a defeat must be put out of the equation as we go out in search of a win against Rangers. They know us and we also know what to do to cage them. It is 90 minutes that will decide that."

On his part, Rangers' director of media and publicity, Foster Chime informed Goal that their next set of matches are very important to them and that they shall be hosting Heartland with assurance of beating them and also defeating Wikki, Sharks and 3SC in their remaining outstanding matches.

Heartland are third on the table with 25 points from 16 matches while their hosts, Rangers are in 12th place with 21 points from 14 encounters.