Rangers International Football Club, commonly known as Enugu Rangers, is a Nigerian professional football team based in Enugu, Nigeria. The club currently plays in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), the country’s highest level of professional club football.
Rangers International FC Youth Development System
Rangers International FC Recruitment Trials
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Rangers International FC History
Enugu Rangers became eligible to compete in the 1971 African Cup of Champions Clubs after winning a competition that was held on a national level in the same year that they were established in 1970. Rangers’ first attempt at competing in an international event resulted in a loss in the quarterfinals, when they were defeated by ASEC Mimosas by a score of 0–3 on aggregate.
They came close to achieving rapid success in the cup as well, making it to the final of the first Nigerian FA Cup in 1971, but fell short against Shooting Stars F.C. by a score of 2–1. The Enugu players were rewarded with promotions at the Nigerian Sports Council as well as automobiles following their success in winning the double in 1974, which included a victory in the cup final versus Mighty Jets by a score of 2-0.
Due to his bad performance in the final of the 1975 African Cup of Champions Clubs, left-back Silvanus Okpalla was given the moniker “Hafia” by his teammates. Rangers went on to lose the tournament against Hafia FC of Guinea. To get to the championship game, Enugu had against overcome a loss to Egypt in the semifinals by a score of 3–1. Founding Ranger Ernest Ufele retired following the defeat.
1977 was the year that finally brought international success. When Ibo state was established as a separate entity in 1976, several players left the club, which is now managed by Godwin Achebe, who was the team’s very first captain. They were eliminated from the competition in the quarterfinals after being held to a scoreless draw at home by the ASF Police of Dakar.
Rangers seized the lead twenty minutes into the second half of the game, eerily quieting the Senegalese stadium, and went on to win the game 2-1. After the match was over, the press in Nigeria reported that the Senegalese fans had assaulted the Nigerian squad, which included stabbing three Rangers players.
In order to safely remove the winners from Dakar, a military aircraft was dispatched there. As a result of being paired against Shooting Stars in the semi-finals of the 1977 competition, Enugu would play host to one of the most memorable matches in the annals of Nigerian football. Rangers would go on to win the final match against Canon Yaounde by a score of 5–2 on aggregate, including a 4–1 victory on home turf in Nigeria.
After the home and away season of 2001, Enugu ended on top of the table, although they placed last in the title playoff group consisting of four teams. Enugu Rangers competed in the 2004 CAF Confederation Cup and advanced to the group stage of the tournament. However, they were unable to win their group and go to the championship game since they were defeated by Asante Kotoko in a head-to-head tiebreaker.
Rangers and Petro de Luanda played to a scoreless draw, and after the match, Rangers celebrated because they believed they had advanced based on goal difference. However, the first tiebreaker was head-to-head competition. Rangers concluded the 2005 season as the runners-up in the league, falling short by five points to Enyimba, who went on to win the championship.
While their stadium was being repaired for the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup, they were forced to play some of their games in neighboring Abakaliki and Nnewi during the 2008–2009 season. Enugu State Governor Sullivan Chime cleared the backlog of sign-on fees stretching back three years and paid off any and all other debts owed to the players before to the beginning of the season. Rangers was the first Nigerian club side to become a public corporation and sell ownership equity in November of 2008.
The transaction took place. However, the transaction did not go through, and the team started the 2009 campaign in the red. At this time, the club is in the possession of the state government. Enugu did start a run of success in a smaller trophy, the local state FA Cup, which they won every year from 2005 to 2017. This run of success lasted for a total of 12 years. Enugu came close to being relegated during the 2015 season of the Nigeria Premier League, but they were ultimately victorious and won their first championship since 1982. Rangers’ victory over El-Kanemi Warriors by a score of four to zero was enough to secure them the title of champions, despite Rivers United, their closest competitor, needing Enugu to lose on the final day of the season.
The year 2017 was a difficult one for Enugu, as the club fell into the relegation zone almost halfway through the season. They were able to recover, ending in 14th place, and maintaining their record of having never been demoted from the first division. After an absence of 35 years, the club was finally victorious in the Nigerian Cup in 2018. Rangers were able to pull off a stunning victory over Kano Pillars by overcoming a three-goal deficit and taking the title home on penalties. Ajani Ibrahim scored the tying goal for the game with a diving header two minutes into the overtime period.
The score was now 3–3. Rangers reached the championship game five times between 1987 and 2007, however they were never victorious in any of those games. Enugu Rangers were successful in their bid to advance to the CAF Confederation Cup by virtue of their 4–2 victory over FC IfeanyiUbah in the first championship playoff match, which took place on Wednesday, June 13, 2019.
Rangers International FC Stadium
Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium in Enugu, Nigeria. At the moment, football matches make up the majority of the activities that take place there, and Enugu Rangers call it their home stadium.
The stadium has a capacity of 22,000 people and was named after Nnamdi Azikiwe, the first president of the Republic of Nigeria.