Rangers Aiteo Cup victory excite Okala, others; Enyimba out of CAF Cup
Some former players of Rangers International football club of Enugu have applauded their victory over Kano Pillars in the finals of 2018 Aiteo Cup in Asaba on Wednesday.
The veterans and other supporters of the Flying Antelopes who spoke to the News Agency OF Nigeria (NAN) in Awka described the victory as the greatest football comeback in recent time.
NAN reports that Rangers International defeated Kano Pillars 4-2 on penalties after upturning a 0-3 lead by their Kano opponents in regulation time.
Pillars recorded the first goal in the fourth minute with a strike from Rabiu Ali.
Ibrahim Alhassan extended the lead with a goal off a corner kick in the 20th minute while Nyma netted the third goal in the 48th minute.
Rangers International began their comeback with a goal by Kelvin Itoya in the 79th minute.
Chidera Ezeh further reduced the deficit in the 82nd minute while Ajani Ibrahim drew level in the 90th minute.
Emma Okala, who was both a former goalkeeper and coach for the team, said the victory was a miracle.
“It was wonderful, it was a miracle, we are happy that we won,” he said, after the thrilling match at Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba .
For their efforts, Rangers got N25 million cheque by sponsors AITEO, while Pillars went home with N10 million.
Arthur Ebunam, chairman of ex Rangers International Football Players in Anambra said the club displayed a never-say-die spirit.
Ebunam said the attitude of Kano Pillars player when they were ahead was also responsible for the outcome of the game.
“They (Rangers) fought like warriors, they put up a good fight otherwise it would have been light-out for some of us.
“Kano Pillars surrendered their lead because of fatigue. They were falling and cramping around the pitch because they thought they had won,” he said.
Joe Aniedobe said he was glad that the cup he won three times as a player of Rangers has been won again.
Aniedobe who played for Rangers between 1974 and 1981 said he was overjoyed.
“I am happy. That is a cup I won as player of Rangers in 1975, 1976 and 1977. The players were great,” he said.
Meanwhile, Enyimba on Wednesday crashed out of the 2018 CAF Confederation Cup after they lost 1-2 (1-3 aggregate) to hosts Raja Casablanca of Morocco. Enyimba had lost by a lone goal to Raja Casablanca in the first leg in Aba.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Enyimba looked bright and eager at the start in Casablanca, but by the time they let in a soft goal in the first half stoppage time, the fight was all but taken from them.