By Nicholas Obisike
The Enugu State Government on Friday celebrated Rangers International FC and its teeming supporters over the club’s great exploits since it was founded in 1970.
The ceremony was combined with the launch of a book, entitled “The New Dawn”, in Enugu.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the book was written by the club’s supporter, Mr Basil Ojengwa.
Speaking at the event, Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi said: “Rangers still remain the pride of the Igbo people.
“It is a thing of honour that the aim of establishing Rangers is still on course.
“It was God’s doing that in 2016, Rangers won the Nigeria Football League trophy and followed it up with the Aiteo Cup in 2018,” he said.
Ugwuanyi said that the Aiteo Cup victory was a miracle, saying: “I called it the Miracle of Asaba.
“I recall that Rangers are a football club like no other formed in the then East Central State.
“Rangers FC announced its arrival in the Nigeria soccer space with the win of a national soccer competition and qualification for the African Cup of Champions Clubs.
“This unprecedented superlative entry behaviour, a record no other club had set in Nigerian soccer history, underscored the legendary fighting spirit of the club.
“Little wonder Rangers are reckoned as the “Pride of the East” and “Flying Antelopes.”
The governor paid special tribute to the founders of the club, past and present Rangers’ players for defending the colour of the club.
Reviewing the book, a lawmaker, Mr Chima Obieze, representing Ezeagu State Constituency at the State House of Assembly, said the book is all about Rangers glory in football.
“It started from evolution of football to how Rangers FC was formed after the civil war by Jerry Enyiazu,” he said.
He said the book narrated how Rangers waited for 32 years for trophy and how it came to an end in 2016 with the nation’s league trophy.
The author of the book, Mr Basil Ojengwa, said that determination remained the backbone of progress and a tool for achievement.
According to him, history will not forgive us, if we do not appreciate and document Rangers’ achievements, especially of late when it seems that the club has been forgotten.
“Rangers are the pride of the Igbo nation and international club that has held its own in Nigeria and Africa,” he said.
In a vote of thanks, the Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Manfred Nzekwe, thanked the governor for revitalising sports in the state.
He described Ugwuanyi as a sports-loving governor, whose performance went beyond soccer to other sports in the state.
Nzekwe attributed the state’s performance at the National Sports Festival (NSF): Edo 2020, where the state won seven medals, to Ugwuanyi’s support.
He said, “Enugu used to go to NSF with lots of sports without much medals to show at the end but this time we went with only four sports and won seven medals.”
NAN reports that Rangers had won Nigeria League trophy seven times, Federation Cup six times and Continental Cup once since its 51 years in the round leather game . (NAN)