Amapakabo promises good hunting for Rangers in 2016

By Fisayo Dairo

One of the stories of the last Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season was the elevation of Imama Amapakabo as the head of Enugu Rangers technical crew.

The decision came at the instance of the Rangers management after results became unacceptable under the guidance of the veteran, Kelechi Emeteole.

Amapakabo, in his mid 40s has long been regarded as one of the brightest prospects in coaching in Nigeria and he did not take long to settle into his first top flight managerial assignment, imparting some astute tactical inputs into his team and some considerable level of dynamism in team management which was evident to all.

The 2015/2016 NPFL season presents the goalkeeper of the World Cup winning China '85 Golden Eaglets with his first chance of preparing a team for a full league season.

Being a traditional team in the mould of Rangers, the popular Flying Antelopes that have somewhat forgotten how to run, let alone fly in recent years, the wait among locals and the amount of pressure on the team to land a piece of silverware is almost on equal proportion.

Amapakabo is not oblivious of the task ahead of his team and is filled with optimism going into the season though he stresses the need for every entity around the team to play their parts well.

"I believe absolutely that this team (Rangers) is capable of landing a piece of silverware this season," he said to "But then, it's not just about me. The team has to blend, and then the kind of support that the management are able to give the team." he continued.

"The future is bright and I've got a team that I believe everyone is capable of playing well which gives me joy. But then it has to be a collective effort. The supporters, the management, the board, the owners of the team. I think everyone that believes in good football has to rally round Rangers in the coming season." added the former Enyimba coach.

Having spent much of their pre-season camping in the ancient city of Benin City, Amapakabo has been able to integrate the team's new players into his existing coaching philosophy at Rangers.

Among the new faces that are expected to wear the Red and White colour of Rangers in the 2015/16 season include their former striker Ifeanyi Egwim who joins from Dolphins alongside left-back Chidiebere Okolie. Former Enyimba duo of Bright Esieme and Chimezie Amanfor have also pitched tents with the Coal City giants as well as Giwa FC topshot, Ocheme Edoh who hit double digits of goals last term.

Rangers will open their campaign with a daunting trip to former league Champions Kano Pillars on Sunday and having lost their last major pre-season game against Warri Wolves last Sunday (a 2-0 defeat), Imama is upbeat that his team will be ready for the challenge.

"I am impressed with the input of the players (in the loss at Warri). It has also opened my eyes to some things left for us to work on. We now have tactical variations that the players are adapting to and I'm very sure we will be ready for the league's commencement." he concluded.
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  1. So many positive reviews about Imama, it's high time we begin to see positive output as well. Let him mould the team to his specifications, so that he won't start chasing shadows when faults start emerging! Good luck to him though!

    *Ghanaman signing out*