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Former Nigeria international, Kingsley Onye believes that Enugu Rangers can only escape from their current precarious situation if the team engages Sylvanus Okpala as the coach.

The club which was one of the old existing teams in Nigeria and previously the stronghold in the country has become a struggling side both in the domestic league and the second-tier continental competition, the CAF Champions League.

At the weekend, the club that is struggling at the bottom rungs of the Nigerian league only managed a goalless draw on the continent to earn its first point out of obtainable nine against continental debutants, Nouadhibou of Mauritania.

Kingsley Onye has called for a concerted effort to salvage the once dreaded Nigerian football club.

According to ThisDay newspaper, Kingsley Onye, a former dependable defender of the club and a major actor in Nigeria’s Flying Eagles’ third-place in 1985 U-20 World Cup said the revival of the club is hinged mainly on getting a technically sound coach for the club.


In a telephone discussion from his base in the UK, he remarked that no other person fit into that position at the moment more than Sylvanus Okpala, a former Nigerian international and one of the earliest skippers of the Flying Eagles in the 1980s.

Fondly, called ‘Quicksilver’ by the late inimitable Nigerian sports commentator, Ernest Okonkwo, Okpala played his professional football in Portugal and was a star player in the Super Eagles in the 1980s.

He assisted Stephen Keshi, as a coach in the Africa Cup of Nations winning side of 2013 before he was sidelined.

Onye said he had spoken with many of his former colleagues in Rangers and the most recurring name was that of Okpala.

He appeals to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State to help in ensuring that Okpala is given the reins in Rangers and that the club needed a coach that will manage the club for at least three years for the club to have stability and regain its esteem both in Nigeria and in the continent.


He agreed that Okpala may have issues with his temperament, but pointed out that the situation could be managed.

Onye said that age and maturity have combined to make Okpala the tools on anger management. He pointed out the remarkable match reading ability of Okpala and the fact that as a footballer, he fitted into virtually every position apart from that of goalkeeping.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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