Nigeria flagbearers Rangers International of Enugu remain resolute and positive ahead of their Total CAF Confederation Cup first leg Round of 1/16th away tie to Bantu FC of Lesotho to be played on Sunday at the Setsoto Stadium in Maseru.
The Flying Antelopes are unbeaten yet in this campaign and recorded good results away from Enugu in the previous rounds including that flattering 3-1 away win against Defence Force of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa as well as the gritty goalless draw in Algiers against USM Bel Abbes (USMBA).
Yet the West African side are not oblivious of the task ahead against battled-hardened Bantu FC who dropped into the Confederation Cup play-off despite some sturdy performances against Township Rollers FC of Botswana and AS Vital Club of Congo.
“Our fans should expect good football from us and by the way we are the training; and we shall have a good game,” explained Rangers’ winger Bright Silas who scored a brace in the 2-0 wins against USMBA to secure the berth into this round. “We don’t know much about them (Bantu FC) but we shall get the three points because we believe in ourselves.
“We are really motivated because the management (of Rangers) are putting things in order; we are also playing for ourselves; our families and friends; and we have to push ourselves to get good results.”
By the way, Rangers have bounced back from their dwindling fortune of previous years by winning the 2016 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) title for the first time since 1983 and added the National Cup last October after 35-years’ period of interruption to secure ticket for their fifth campaign in the CAF Confederation Cup.
Their best outing so far at this level was reaching the group stage in 2004 where they narrowly missed qualification for the final match after coming second behind Asante Kotoko. Last time, Rangers were bundled out in the play off stage as recent as 2017 following a 5-2 aggregate loss to Zesco of Zambia. But the club’s Ghanaian-born goalkeeper, Nana Bonsu believes their past experiences would stand the Flying Antelopes in good stead against Bantu FC.
“We want to take Rangers far (in this competition) and we need the support and prayers of our fans,” stated the 30-year-old stopper who reclaimed the club’s number one shirt after his heroics in the Nigeria national cup final October.
Meanwhile, the second leg of the encounter is fixed for the Nnamdi Azikiwe stadium in Enugu on the 20th January with the aggregate winners over the two legs automatically guaranteed a place in the mini-league group stage.