Enugu Rangers on Sunday won their seventh Nigeria Professional Football League title after a 4-0 thumping of El-Kanemi Warriors. Team manager of the Flying Antelopes, Ameobi Ezeaku tells Completesportsnigeria.com's ADEBOYE AMOSU that their target is now to conquer the continent.
Photos by GANIYU YUSUF:
Congratulations on your team's success in the Nigeria Professional Football League this season. You must be excited over how things went for Enugu Rangers…
Thank you so much. It's been a tough and long season, but we are grateful to God for making it possible for us to win the title, our first in 32 years.
You know, we started the season with a defeat against Kano Pillars and nobody gave us the chance to challenge for the title, talk less of winning it.
But with hardwork and dedication from our players, we have been able to surpass expectations.
You spoke about starting the season with a loss against Kano Pillars and then turning things around, emerging champions at the end of the day, what has been the secret of this success?
Everything is just down to total dedication and determination from the players and coaches. Everyone was determined to make it a memorable season for the club and we are glad we have been able to achieve that.
To be without a trophy for 32 years is not an easy feat. You can imagine how difficult it has be watching other clubs win it over the years.
We have to also recognise the impact of Enugu State Governor, Samuel Ugwuanyi who has provided the financial support for the team.
Most importantly, the fans have played a key role in the club's success this season. They supported the team from the beginning to the end.
At what point in the season did you actually believe you can win the title?
Well, I must say we were actually consistent for the better part of the season. Our objective before the start of the season was to win the title and it reflected in our performance.
We knew it was going to be our year and we never allowed anything to hold us back despite all the odds.
One significant thing for Rangers was the huge presence of fans at the Nnamdi Azikwe Stadium in all your games, how were you able to achieve that?
Like I told you, we did a lot of work before the start of the season. There was a kind of apathy towards the team due to under performance over the years. But I took it upon myself to move around Enugu and appeal to the fans to start coming to the Stadium and give their support to the team.
It was tough in the beginning, but gradually, they realised the need to offer their support to the team and started turning up for games. The players made things easy for me as well as they gave the fans good value for their money.
I just hope we can build on this success next season and years to come.
Do you see Enugu Rangers maintaining this momentum next season or probably surpassing the achievement by winning the double ?
We can surely do that. If you look at our squad, we have some of the best and promising players in the league. In Godwin Aguda, Obinna Nwobodo and Chidiebere Okolie we have three of the best young players in the country at the moment.
Then we have players like Chisom Egbuchulam, Osas Okoro, Bobby Clement and a host of others who have really distinguished themselves this season. I strongly believe the future is bright for this club and we can achieve greater things in future.
How well do you think Rangers will fare in the continent next season?
It's the next challenge for us now. I believe we have a squad strong enough to compete against the top teams in the continent.
Though you could say we don't have the experience compare to the other teams like Zamalek, Al Ahly and TP Mazembe but I believe in the boys and the technical crew.
We have conquered Nigeria now, the next target now is to conquer Africa.
Hopefully, we will defend our league trophy successfully and become the second Nigerian side to win the CAF Champions League title.