Technical Adviser of newly crowned champions of the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) Rangers International of Enugu, Christian Chukwu, waxed lyrically on Sunday evening moments after the Enugu team ended 32-year trophy drought.
Rangers defeated El Kanemi 4-0 in their last NPFL Match-day 38 game to finish on 63 point to clinch the title and a ticket to represent the country in the CAF Champions League while Rivers United and Wikki Tourists of Bauchi are in the second and third positions respectively.
Chukwu who was in-charge when Rangers won their last league title in 1984, told THISDAY after this long wait to end the jinx, that the Pride of the Eastern region cannot afford to disappoint in the continent as Nigeria’s flag-bearer in the CAF Champions league.
The former Green Eagles captain and coach believes that Rangers have the quality to do well in the continent.
“I believe in this team. Rangers is going into the CAF Champions League as a worthy team from Nigeria. With additional support from the government and other well-meaning supporters of the club, the sky is the limit,”observed Chukwu fondly hailed as Chairman.
The ex international however advised the Enugu State government to take the advantage of this resurgence in the value of the Rangers FC brand to divest its ownership by allowing 40 to 60 per cent of the share go to investors.
“I believe that with the new form of Rangers it is good enough to attract investors. In this recession, the government is faced with so many challenges. Now is the time to allow investors come in with their money to help accelerate the growth of the club,” reasoned Chukwu.
He pointed in the direction of major clubs around the continent and beyond that have become global brands quoted on the stock exchange. Chulwu wants Rangers to set the pace for other clubs owned by state governments.
“If we succeed with Rangers. I believe that other states are going to take cue and do same with their clubs. By so doing, it will bring a major turn-around for the Nigerian premier league and club football in the country.”
The former Nigeria and Kenya coach also pleaded with Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to immortalise the present team that ended the 32-year jinx as well as create a Hall of Fame for ex-Rangers.
” The boys need motivation. If I am the governor of the state, I will give the players and officials land in the state for them to own property. This will serve as motivation to others. But unfortunately I am just a coach.
” Also, ex- Rangers who set the pace, making the team the Pride of the old Eastern Region should be immortalised too with the establishment of a Hall of Fame. Generation unborn will see and appreciate the efforts of these worthy footballers. That is how great sportsmen and women are immortalised all over the world,” concludes Chairman Chukwu who stood all through that final day game with ElKanemi at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium in the old Eastern State capital last Sunday.