September, 16 2023.
Having already crashed out of this season's CAF Champions League at the very first hurdle, there are indications that all may not be well with Enyimba International FC of Aba, who not long ago had Super Eagles legend, Kanu Nwankwo replace Chief Felix Anyansi-Agwu as Chairman of their board.
Paucity of funds have been a major inhibitor as the record nine-time Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) champions, look to compete in the domestic league and cup, as well as the newly founded CAF and FIFA organized African Football League, this term.
On Tuesday, Yao Benard and Captain Nyima Nwagua scored a goal each as Rivers United inflicted a rare 2-0 defeat on the People's Elephant in Aba, as the Pride of Rivers rounded off their own pre-season programme ahead of the new season, whose kick-off has been put off indefinitely.
Two days after the uncharacteristic home loss, Enyimba FC were again found wanting, and this time around, it had to do with their inability to honour a high-profile friendly game, against Oriental arch-rivals, Rangers International FC of Enugu in Awka, Anambra State.
Speaking to the media at the Awka City Stadium, which was supposed to host the friendly, the Chief Executive Officer of Rangers, Barrister Amobi Ezeaku described as "unfortunate and disappointing", the failure and inability of Enyimba Int'L FC to honour the preseason game.
According to him, the disappointment was huge, and rather unprofessional, because it was a well-scheduled game both sides and fans in Awka and adjoining towns were looking forward to.
"We agreed on this friendly and they continued saying they were on their way, but until now (about 5pm), they have not yet arrived here. I guess there may be cogent reasons for this, but they should have been open-minded in communicating same to us. Even if they do arrive now, which I doubt, it's already too late, as the stadium lights are not at their best and diesel may be a problem", the Rangers CEO told reporters.
Barrister Ezeaku added that the players and officials of Rangers have been told to return to Enugu, after he had talked things over with the Sporting Director of Enyimba FC, Ifeanyi Ekwueme, who remonstrated with him.
On the readiness of Rangers for the twice postponed 2023/24 campaign, the CEO told www.ckdmedia.ng that everything has gone well with Rangers, from their new Head Coach Fidelis Ilechukwu to the quality of players recruited this season.
"What excites me about the team is the youthfulness of the players, we have fifteen (15) and sixteen (16) years old in our squad, and our Coach is as well a youthful coach working with a lot of zeal and drive to make things happen for the club. We played a couple of friendlies already and the results were great. The Rangers style and philosophy are fully back again, so we are eager to get the season underway".
He also thanked the Anambara State government and football fans in Awka and it's environs, for hosting Rangers last season and appeal to them to come out in their numbers when the league resumes, to savour good football.
Describing Rangers as both a regional and national side loved by many, Barrister Ezeaku said he expects the support Rangers got last season to be doubled, as the Flying Antelopes hope to reciprocate by improving on their performances and results while in Awka, and before switching back to Enugu, when the turf of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium would have been laid.