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Exclusive: Rangers Need Fresh Managerial Ideas To Transform Into Strong Self-Sustaining NPL Club –Ex-Nigeria Int’l, Otti

Exclusive: Rangers Need Fresh Managerial Ideas To Transform Into Strong Self-Sustaining NPL Club –Ex-Nigeria Int’l, Otti

Former Rangers and ex-Nigeria international, Amaechi Otti, says the Coal City Flying Antelopes have gone beyond going cap-in-hand to successive governments for financial survival, insisting that the seven-time Nigeria champions need a ‘fresh breath of administrative and financial self-sufficiency’ in line with the best global trend, Completesports.com reports.

Otti won the 1983 FA Cup with Rangers at the expense of Ayo Ogunlana-inspired DIC Kaduna, via penalty shootout.

The defender also won the 1984 league title with Rangers after helping Nigeria qualify and participate in her first FIFA U-20 World Cup finals in Mexico in 1983.

The famous Nike Grammar School Enugu product told Completesports.com that the Flying Antelopes should be at the pinnacle of domestic and continental football if well managed, reckoning that the Flying Antelopes have the attractive brand and quality to attract investors if their potential is well harnessed and transparently managed by their successive leaders.

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The one-time Rangers and Green Eagles defender insisted that Rangers, as the Pride of Eastern Nigeria, ought not to be administered with an ethnic or tribal bias for optimum results.


Former Rangers International, Flying Eagles and Green Eagles defender, Amaechi Otti

Otti exclusively spoke to Completesports.com soon after he arrived in Enugu from his base in Belgium.

Since calling time on his illustrious career, Otti has been engaged in shipping Nigerian players to foreign leagues, including Rangers players, a project he sees as ‘giving back to the society’.

“Rangers is the club so dear to my heart and I cannot stop being proud of them, being my childhood club and one that gave me the breakthrough, ” said Otti who’s now a FIFA Licensed Player Intermediary.

“Aside from playing for the famous Flying Antelopes, reputed as the ‘Pride of Eastern Nigeria’, I rose from their famous all-white colours to travel to Europe for my professional career. And I’m always proud of every single moment of my stay in the club and I will continue to cherish it all the days of my life.

“It’s a pride to wear the Rangers Jersey. And you remember the atmosphere at the stands each time players emerge from the turnstile. Those electrifying moments the fans created and sang. Those days when, as a Rangers player, you go to the Ogbette Market, Enugu, with N100, you end up coming back home with loads of items worth more than N2000 and even much more cash in your pocket.

“Those days, it was a huge honour to be a Rangers player. Of course, those glorious days could be recreated now. It’s all about engaging managers with modern-day football ideas. It’s about engaging people who have the business side of the game, those who can leverage the club’s potential to bring in investors to shore up the club’s revenue and lessen the so much dependence on the government for funding. ”

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Despite Otti’s fine memories and admiration of his good old days at Rangers, the former bully defender would recall that his first career breakthrough came during his days as a student of the famous Nike Grammar School Enugu.

“I was first invited to the Senior national team, Green Eagles, while I was still a student of Nike Grammar School, Enugu,” Otti recalled with pleasant nostalgia.

“It was while I was in the national team that Rangers came to Lagos and signed me on.

“At club level, I remember clearly how I always ‘pocketed’ the likes of Clement Temile, Tarland Okorowanta, Segun ‘Mathematical’ Odegbami, amongst – those Nigerian super exceptional and trickery wingers back then.”

After his playing career, Otti delved into sports management and players’ Intermediary business.

“I’ve facilitated many players trip to Europe, including Rangers players. It’s not something one should be trumpeting all over the place but the facts are there and the players involved know it and are still alive today,” Otti said.


Rangers International

Completesports.com checks reveal that the likes of Sam Brown, a former Rangers stocky centre-back, Adewale and Ejike Uzoenyi are amongst former Rangers players who had their Euro careers brokered by Otti.

Otti believes that what Rangers need now is a ‘commercial-minded’ administrator to galvanise the club’s marketing potential to shore up funds, thereby reducing dependence on government for ‘feeding bottle’ funds.

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Otti added: “Football is now a serious commercial business. It has gone beyond total dependence on government.

“Besides, Rangers as a club, who had conquered Africa once and won the domestic league seven times, as well as lifting the domestic cup five times or thereabouts, shouldn’t in this 21st century be relying completely on the government for financial survival.

“Agreed, the government can hold a share in the club, but as a corporate outfit, Rangers has the quality, potential and commercial value to attract big business partners and sponsors to shore up their revenue.

“This way, the Coal City Flying, A antelopes can stand on their financial legs at least for say, 85%. What’s wrong with Rangers owning a viable Hotel, Petrol Station, entertainment Centers around the stadium and all that as is the case around former Arsenal Highbury Stadium and now Emirates Stadium and others?

“What’s wrong with Rangers having a strong partnership deal with clubs in Europe for the technical partnership for exchange of players, supply of kits and all that?

“Is it a bad idea or impossible for Rangers to strike a sustainable partnership with airlines for its trips away from home in view of the risks now associated with road travels in the country?

“These are not impossible. It only requires honest and transparent leadership, that’s all”.

Since the departure of Davidson Owumi as General Manager, to assume the role of Chief Executive Officer, CEO, of the League Management Company, LMC, now NPL, Rangers had been without a substantive General Manager.

On Wednesday, August 23, the Enugu State Government, owner of the club, named Barrister Amobi Ezeaku, as the substantive General Manager/CEO of the club ahead of the coming 2023/2024

New Rangers General Manager/CEO, Barrister Amobi Ezeaku

Ezeaku, a former Team Manager of the Flying Antelopes, will now succeed Davidson ‘Okada Air’ Owumi, as the General Manager of the club.

Otti, born and brought up in Enugu, attended O’Connor Street Primary School in Asata, Enugu. He captained the school’s Junior and Senior football teams during his primary education.

He went on to captain the Enugu State Greater Tomorrow Football Team and was equally a member of the then Anambra State football team to the 1981 National Sports Festival tagged Bendel ’81.

A former Games Prefect of Nara Boys Secondary School, Otti was also named captain of the school’s Junior and Senior football teams between 1980-83 before he moved to Nike Grammar School where he was the school’s football team vice-captain in 1983-1984.

In 1983, Otti made Coach Christopher Udemezue’s (now late) final cut of the Flying Eagles squad to the FIFA U-20 World Cup, Mexico ’83.

Otti’s trophy shelf is dotted with glittering trophies, including the 1983 FA Cup with Rangers, as well as the 1984 Nigeria League Cup, also with Rangers.

Amaechi Otti as Flying Eagles player

After his trophy successes with Rangers, Otti moved to Abiola Babes of Abeokuta with whom he won the FA Cup in 1985 before drifting to neighbouring Benin Republic where he also won the Benin Republic Premier League with Dragon de Le’Queme, Porto Novo 1986/1987.

Otti was appointed El-Kanemi Warriors of Maiduguri captain in 1988/89.

He moved to Belgium soon after, teaming up with Royal Racing FC De Tournia Belgium from 1989 to 1993. In 1994, he was snapped up by Alamania Aachen, for the 1994/1995 season. He called time on his career after a one-season spell at Kreins Zug, Switzerland, in 1996.

The founder/CEO of OTTAN Football Club Enugu holds
Diploma/Degree Certificate In both French/Nederlands for Football Management.

Exclusive By Sab Osuji

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