As Rangers International FC makes a triumphant return to the Cathedral for the first time in two years, following a period of inactivity, a titanic battle awaits as the newly re-grassed Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium hosts an age-old rival, Shooting Stars SC of Ibadan, in their first encounter.
Recall that the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium in Enugu had been closed to the public for the past two years due to various issues with the grass surface, rendering it unplayable and prompting the league authorities to ban the stadium for league matches.
The stadium has now undergone re-grassing, funded by the Enugu State government, and has been given a clean bill of health to resume hosting league matches. However, the first match back will be a baptism of fire, as the red-hot Oluyole Warriors, a long-standing rival of the Flying Antelopes, are the first opponents in this uncourteous return.
Rangers International FC, having spent over a year playing their home games in Awka, can now enjoy the support of their home crowd in the Cathedral as they face one of their oldest rivals, Shooting Stars, in one of the top games of the week.
The Flying Antelopes secured a valuable away draw against defending champions Enyimba International last weekend and are hopeful that their goal poacher, Kazeem Ogunleye, will meet expectations in the 2023/2024 Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) against the Gbenga Ogunbote-tutored side, who are still recovering from their five-game winless streak.
Shooting Stars FC had a week off last week due to Rivers United’s involvement in the CAF Confederation Cup, giving them ample rest for the battle against the five-time League winners. Otherwise, they risk leaving the Cathedral battered once again.
Shooting Stars FC captain, Taofeek Malomo, appears to be regaining his old form, and his participation could play a vital role for the Ibadan-based side.
Since 2015, Enugu Rangers and Shooting Stars have played eight matches, resulting in one win for Enugu Rangers and five draws.
Enugu Rangers 2:2 Shooting Stars (02.07.2022)
Shooting Stars 1:1 Enugu Rangers (02.03.2022)
Enugu Rangers 1:1 Shooting Stars (09.07.2017)
Shooting Stars 1:0 Enugu Rangers (22.03.2017)
Shooting Stars 2:1 Enugu Rangers (10.09.2016)
Enugu Rangers 1:1 Shooting Stars (08.05.2016)
Enugu Rangers 2:1 Shooting Stars (13.09.2015)
Shooting Stars 1:1 Enugu Rangers (17.05.2015)