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From Relegation Threats to Champions: Amobi Ezeaku shares turnaround story of Enugu Rangers’ success

Enugu Rangers, newly crowned champions of the Nigerian Premier Football League, have made a remarkable comeback just a year after narrowly avoiding relegation. General Manager Amobi Ezeaku credits their success to purposeful player recruitment and strong financial support, setting the stage for future achievements on the continental level.

Jeremiah Omoniyi
J. Omoniyi

Last Updated: 2024-07-05

Louis Hobbs

8 minutes read

Amobi Ezeaku

Enugu Rangers, the newly crowned champions of the Nigerian Premier Football League, have completed a remarkable turnaround. 

Just a year after narrowly avoiding relegation, the Flying Antelopes have won the 2023/2024 League season, their first title in eight years.

Amobi Ezeaku: The Architect of Success

In an exclusive interview with SportsBoom, Enugu Rangers' General Manager Amobi Ezeaku attributed the team's success to two key factors: purposeful player recruitments and financial support.

Ezeaku, who took the helm just eight months ago, highlighted the strategic approach of the club's management in solving problems and setting new standards.

Amobi Ezeaku Poised To Assume Role of General Manager At Rangers FC

Image Credits: Sports247.NG

Purposeful Recruitments

Ezeaku emphasised the importance of targeted signings, starting with the appointment of experienced coach Fidelis Ilechukwu; an experienced gaffer of over a decade in the Nigerian league where he has led two different teams, MFM and Plateau United to the continental championships.

The club also recruited players like Kazeem Ogunleye, Ifeanyi Onyebuchi, and goalkeeper Japheth Opubo, who brought not only skills but also strong character and mental toughness to the existing squad.

“So, the recruitment at the start of the just concluded season was really purposeful, not just the playing skills of the players were considered but the character, the mentality of the boys was also considered, ”Ezeaku told SportsBoom.com.

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The technical crew, management and every one of us are all on the same page on the players and signing of new players. The preseason also helped the boys to be in shape.

Amobi Ezeaku

What’s Next?

Having won the league and qualified for the continental championships for the first time in over five years, Mr. Ezeaku told SportsBoom that the club is aware of the challenges ahead.

But assured that the club's focus is to keep the momentum by additional innovation and further improvements to stay ahead.

He continued that the club is looking to harness more sponsorship via commercials and partnerships. Enugu Rangers before last season signed a multimillionaire deal with a financial firm Afrivest to make them one of the clubs in the league with shirt sponsors.

But Mr. Ezeaku has stated that the club will be out for more brand sponsorship.

“Now we’ve won the NPFL and we’re playing on the continent, as usual we are a modest club, we want to continue to build from what we achieved in the just concluded season. We have areas we want to improve on, we are a work in progress. When my management came on board about eight months ago, we’ve tried to look at the commercial side of our club and we are still working towards ensuring that the commercial side becomes the talk of the continent.”

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The Afri Invest sponsorship is a major one, a big one for us and we are grateful to God towards that.

Amobi Ezeaku

Constant Funding

Amobi stressed the crucial role of adequate funding in their success, particularly the sponsorship deal with Afri Invest.

He also acknowledged the support of Governor Dr. Peter Ndubisi Mba, which has enabled the club to become more professional and attractive to partners.

“The Afri Invest sponsorship played a major role and it has also continued to play a role in what is happening at Rangers, the ongoing transformation at Rangers. Rangers has become more professional, and the outlook of the club is now pleasing to everyone.”

“Of course, this wouldn’t have been possible without the authorisation of the Governor, Dr. Peter Ndubisi Mba. There is a synergy, the governor believes in the power the private sector possesses and is indeed harnessing those powers.”

Good Pedigree on the Continent

As they prepare for the continental playoffs in August, Enugu Rangers are poised to make their mark on the African stage.

“On the sporting side, we’ll continue to build to see that the club and the players can compete at any level when you talk about football competition.”

"We're not just representing ourselves, but also our country and our fans," Ezeaku said.

"We're determined to make a positive impact in the continent,” the General manager concluded. 

Jeremiah Omoniyi
Jeremiah OmoniyiSports Writer

Jeremiah Omoniyi is a developmental sports Journalist with over five years of experience writing about grassroots and international football and sporting events. Jeremiah’s forte in sports journalism are feature writing and interviews which he has done to a reasonable amount within his home country, Nigeria.