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Akwa United starts 2023/2024 NPFL second stanza in Rangers' den

Posted : 17 February 2024

After parting ways with their manager by mutual consent, Akwa United FC will have to resume from where they left off in the last stanza, facing Rangers International FC at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium in Enugu.

Undoubtedly, tough times await the Promise Keepers, who were crowned NPFL champions for the first time on August 1, 2021, after a dominating 5-2 victory against MFM FC at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo, with a game to spare.

Akwa United also set a league record with their 18-match unbeaten run, surpassing Enyimba in 2005 and Kano Pillars in the 2019–20 13-match unbeaten sequence.

However, after the 2020/2021 league win, things have not been on the bright side for the Promise Keepers as they failed to replicate the form that led them to win the league.

The situation has continued to worsen in the 2023/2024 season as Akwa United now fights for survival in the relegation waters.

Following unimpressive results, manager Fatai Amoo had to leave the team midway, leaving the team managerless since then.

Akwa United FC managed to climb out of the relegation waters to the 16th position on the table, courtesy of some good results at the tail end of the first stanza, especially securing a 1-0 win over Rangers Int'l FC in Eket in the last league match. But two matches before that, the Promise Keepers had defeated Abia Warriors.

For Flying Antelopes International, Match Day 20 should be a perfect time to take their pound of flesh from the Promise Keepers.

In the 2023/2024 NPFL season, Enugu Rangers, in 19 games, have recorded eight victories, seven losses, and four draws.

Rangers International F.C's Technical Adviser, Coach Fidelis Ilechukwu, expressed optimism about leading the 'Flying Antelopes' to a respectable finish in the league. With the addition of new quality players, he believes the second round will be challenging, interesting, and result-oriented.

"We have brought in a few new quality players knowing fully that the second round of the league would be very tasking," said Coach Ilechukwu. "The Management has also done marvelously well in preparing for the second round. What is very important for us now is a perfect start with a win against Akwa United in the opening match of the second stanza. It is a crucial game for us."

He added, "We are taking each game at a time with the strong belief that we shall get a positive result. We also appreciate the fact that we currently occupy the 8th spot on the log with eight points below the table-topping side. Surely, eight points is a very big gap, which is very difficult to overcome but can also be easy to get, and we are prepared to give our all to ensure we end the season on a positive note. We are very optimistic about what we can achieve."

The seven-time Nigeria league champions kick off the second round of the league with a Match Day 20 encounter against visiting Akwa United, who secured a lone goal victory courtesy of Ubong Friday's 79th-minute penalty in the reverse fixture in Eket late last month.

In the current 2023/2024 Premier League season, Akwa United has played 19 games, securing five wins, eight losses, and six draws.

Head to Head:
In the last five matches, Rangers Int'l have won three, while Akwa United won one, and the other match ended in a draw.

Rangers International FC to win.


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