The 2021/2022 Nigeria Premier League season ended over the weekend with sour stories for some and the positives for others. And Rangers International have the positives to take from the campaign.
The last round of games were played across the country, simultaneously, with results that pushed some down to the second tier Nigeria National League (NNL) and left others celebrating survival in the NPFL.
In this interview with Completesports.com, Enugu Rangers Head Coach, Abdul Maikaba, explains the reasons he believes that the Flying Antelopes’ fifth position in the 2022 NPFL is ‘a very good performance’.
Interview by CHIGOZIE CHUKWULETA
Completesports.com: How would you describe Enugu Rangers’ last game of the season, the 2-0 home win against Akwa United?
Maikaba: Very interesting game despite the fact that the two teams have nothing at stake. But people would say there is nothing at stake, but we have something at stake on our own side because we are going into another competition and we are not in good form at the present. We need a game that will bring back that winning form which will help in facing another competition.
How do you react to your failed attempt to lead Rangers to qualify for a continental competition?
I think we have put in our best. It was a difficult journey. Again, we did well playing away from home. Among the teams that played away from their natural homes, we were the only team contesting at the top. All the remaining teams fought relegation. So I believe playing 38 matches, not playing one in Enugu , we have done well to finish fifth.
Moving forward, what do you intend doing to plug the holes found in the team this season?
I think this is left for me and my technical team to fathom how to do that. We will sit down and try to look at the problems we had all through the season. We will give it in form of report which l believe the management will give us the go ahead to implement the corrections.
Talking about getting the greenlight from the management to make corrections suggests that you are still with Rangers for next season…
I have a two year contract and this is my first year. I believe l don’t have any problem finishing fifth. It is a very good performance because, compared to last season when Rangers played in Enugu, they were not able to finish in this position.
How would you appraise the 2022 NPFL season?
A lot of controversies. We need to improve the league itself. If not, teams that don’t deserve to win trophies or don’t deserve to represent Nigeria will be the ones to do that.
What was the whole experience like playing away from home at the Awka City Stadium?
It is natural that we missed our fans even though our Supporters club are always with us to give us that support. I believe if we had played in our natural Enugu home [Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium], our final position would have been better.
How would you describe Awka fans and their support?
They were fantastic. That is why we showed our appreciation before the kickoff of our last game of the season [Vs Akwa United]. Awka fans have supported us very well. We appreciate them. They made us feel at home, away from home.
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