The 2012/2013 season of the Nigerian top league starts on Saturday.
The newly christened Nigerian Professional Football League, NPFL, is set for a thrilling start this Saturday after over seven months in limbo, as two of the country’s biggest clubs, Enugu Rangers and Enyimba, battle in the season opener.
It has been war of words in the past days as the Flying Antelopes and the Peoples Elephant gun for a bright start in the new season.
Foster Chime, the Media officer to Rangers, in a phone chat with PREMIUM TIMES, said all is well in their camp going into the season’s opener; and though they expect a tough fight from their regional rivals, they are sure of all three points.
“We are ready for Enyimba, the team is in high spirit and raring to go. The new players in team have settled well and are ready to see that we have a good start,” Chime said.
And while many football fans would have loved to catch a glimpse of the Super Eagles new sensation, Sunday Mba, PREMIUM TIMES can confirm that he will not play for Rangers in the game.
Rangers Coach, Okey Emordi, on Saturday morning admitted that Mba’s absence will be felt but was quick to add that other players would get the job done.
“Of course we will miss Mba, he is a member of this family and his absence will be felt,” Emordi remarked.
Former Rangers player, Uwadiegwu Ugwu has boasted that he will score for his new club, Enyimba, against his former side in Saturday’s game.
Last season, Chikeluba Ofoedu scored the goal that gave Rangers victory over Enyimba in Enugu; but the light skinned striker has since moved to Turkey to ply his trade.
In other Week 1 games billed for Sunday, defending champions, Kano Pillars, will face Wikki Tourists at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium, Bauchi.
At the Ilorin Township Stadium, Abubakar Bukola Saraki (ABS) FC will lock horns with Kwara United.
Heartland CF of Owerri and the newly promoted Nembe City will slug it out at the Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri; while Sharks FC will take on Warri Wolves at the Sharks Stadium in Port Harcourt.
The other opening fixtures are: Nassarawa vs. El Kanemi, Akwa United vs. Dolphins, Sunshine vs. Kaduna United, Bayelsa United vs. Lobi Stars, and 3SC vs. Gombe United.
Mba, who scored Nigeria’s winning goal at the Nations Cup in South Africa, will not play until the tussle between Rangers and Warri Wolves, over who owns his rights, is resolved.