By CHRIS SULEIMAN, Abuja
Following the 1-2 win in Abeokuta against the almost relegated Ikorodu United, Enugu Rangers seem to have gotten closer to breaking the 32 years jinx of not winning a major title.
The Flying Antelopes are very close to be crowned champions of the 2015/16 Nigeria Professional Football League Champions.
Already their fans have commenced celebration. For over three decades, a traditional club like Rangers have not tested glory. So the jubilant mood of their fans is understandable. Some of the players who last won title for the club have passed on to glory. Thank God, former captain of the Nigerian national team who also captained the Enugu Rangers, Christian Chukwu is alive alongside few others to see this glorious day.
However, it is not yet Uhuru for Rangers, one point still stands between them and the glory. Even though Rangers Sunday’s victory at Ikorodu, have placed them beyond the reach of other contenders except Rivers United.
Before the match-day 37 encounter, Rangers were trailed by four other clubs with Rivers United being the closest rivals. Rangers leading the pack going into Sunday’s match with 57 points, closely followed by Rivers United who have 56 points. Wikki Tourists that have been struggling the top-spot with Rangers had 54 while IfeanyiUbah FC had 53 points with Lobi amassing just 52 points. These first five teams before the Match-Day 37 all had mathematical chances of winning the league.
The story is however now different, Like the legendary Tuface Idibia put it in a song, Jungle Don Mature and no time for Caricature. The jungle has really mature and all other pretenders have gave way for the two serious contenders for the title. Enugu Rangers and Rivers United.
As stated above that celebration is ongoing by fans of Enugu Rangers, it was however observed that for the Holy Holy song to come alive with certainty, Rangers have to ensure they secure a point at the ‘Cathedral’ that is Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, their home ground.
With the outcome of Matchday 37, Rangers have 60points and closely followed by Rivers United who unfortunately played a barren draw in Port Harcourt on Sunday against relegation threatened Abia Warriors and garnered 57 points.
Rivers United’s failure to pick the maximum three points weakens the competitiveness of the match-Day 38, which is the final match. Pundit said it would have been a stiffer challenge. But Rangers hold their heads high when they defeated Ikorodu United and picked the maximum three points to put their league winning ambition on a surer line.
Wikki Tourists lost in Ibadan, while IfeanyiUbah won to be ahead of Wikki with 56points against 54points by the Bauchi side.
Living to its biding of competitiveness, the 2015/16 season has also dragged the title chase to the Match-Day 38 the last round of matches for the season where, Enugu Rangers playing at home have to secure a point to be sure they have won the league.
If Rangers lose at home by even 1-0 and Rivers United win by 4-0 the League goes to Rivers United. Rangers is only on top the table with 60 points and plus 12 goal difference while Rivers United have 57 points with plus 8 goals difference.
Also very interesting match in the last day would be between Ifeanyi UbahFC versus MFM. It would be a battle of survival against relegation and a bid to secure a continental ticket.
But for Rangers, this one point deserves the concentration and dedication shown throughout the season that brought them this close. Would they allow this slip away from their hands after chasing it for 32 years? 90 minutes of Mach-Day 38 would tell the answers.