Rangers’ defeat bad for Nigerian football, says Kalu

Zamalek players celebrate Stanley Ohawuchi’s opener in the 4-1 Champions League round of 32 first-leg victory over Enugu Rangers… on Sunday. PHOTO AL-AHRAM.

Former Abia State Governor, Orji Uzor Kalu, is upset that another Nigerian club, Enugu Rangers, have been booted out of the CAF Champions league by Zamalek of Egypt. The Flying Antelopes crashed out 5-3 aggregate despite beating Zamalek of Egypt 2-1 in Enugu at the Weekend.

Kalu said: “This is a terrible result. I thought Rangers would fight like wounded Lions in spite of the 4-1 first leg deficit. Scoring three goals at home was not out of this world. They did it against another Egyptian side, Mehalla in 1975. The same happened to Zambia’s Green Buffaloes in 1976.”

“Rangers had also beaten North African teams silly at home in the past. In 1982, they bullied Algeria’s RS Kouba 5-0. Al Hilal of Sudan fell 4-0 in 2006, while in the 2003 CAF Cup, the Flying Antelopes gave Al Ahli, Egypt a 4-0 drubbing. The same result was achieved in the 2004 CAF Confederations Cup when they hit Al Masri and Al Hilal 4-0 respectively. So I had no fear about beating Zamalek,” Kalu added.

He urged the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to play a more active role in the country’s preparation for continental competitions especially now that Amaju Pinnick has won a place in the CAF Executive Committee.

According to Kalu: “There is more to continental football than meets the eye. It is beyond party politics. I have been involved so I am talking from experience, which you cannot buy from the State Ministry of Sports. That was why Enyimba won the CAF Champions League back to back in 2003 and 2004.

“I believe so much in Rangers. In football nothing is impossible. Barcelona did it recently in Europe. Hafia did it against ASEC Mimosas in 1976. Rangers had once scored six goals at home, in the 1996 CAF Cup against Etoile Filante of Togo. It is painful they could not score four goals against Zamalek.”

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