A journey inside the head of Imama Amapakabo

One more point, Imama Amapakabor seems to be saying (LMC Photo)
By Toritseju Williams

It’s just one game to go for us to make history as the 32 year wait for Rangers FC to lift the NPFL title is about to end.

The job is not done yet though; its 90 minutes, one game and 11 players between me and the prize.

A week ago I was one point clear at the top with a tricky Ikorodu United encounter ahead and I said to my boys "you can do it."

I tell the press it's a difficult game but in reality it's a game against the worst team in the league.

These words brought puffs of air into the chest of the players as their confidence got a big boost, it was going to be a walk in the park as we won that game 2-1 in Abeokuta.

Now with only El Kanemi Warriors in my wake, I have started perfecting my victory dance, my victory speech and my new walk.

How do I approach this game? That's the question that has been on my mind all week long.

Am I bothered? Heck no, I'm Imama, I can talk myself out of a sticky situation.

Besides, it's not like I'm going into this alone, I'm with my boys, my players, my trusted companions who can read my thoughts even without me having to speak.

So I took my boys to my "plan room", rolled my board over and told them all about the opposition.

I knew telling my boys they were 90 minutes away from success would do basically nothing.

They didn't need my all seeing eyes or words of wisdom to state the obvious they knew this already so I took a different approach in a bid to ensure I don't risk putting my boys under pressure.
I said "OK guys let's look at the past. We would have won the league by now if Giwa was not kicked out but it only happened to give us that "against all odds feeling".

El Kanemi Warriors have lost at home this season, I told them ‘get your pens out boys’

El Kanemi have lost at home this season, remember match day 3?

They lost at their own home 3-1 to Akwa United (granted, they were in Kano not their traditional home ground)

But they have only managed 3 draws away from home so why should we be worried?

Forget about Rivers United. They are second on the log but haven't scored an away goal this second half of the season so no fears.

We will do our thing and reign supreme.

Even though we remember the Akwa United/ Calabar Rovers game a few years ago that saw Akwa United "miraculously" win with 13 goals, meaning when it concerns Akwa expect the unexpected.

OK boys let's talk tactics

As you all know when it comes to our home games we play free flowing, expressive football with emphasis on cut ins from our inverted wingers That's our typical game plan but for this we will springing surprises.

Our opposition El Kanemi aren't as expressive we are especially when they play away as they are more of a "to the point" kind of team.

So we know they will hope to steal the midfield with many bodies in there like they did in the first leg which they won 2-0.

But we have learnt a lot about the opposition from that encounter so don't worry I have a plan

No fears. They crowd out the middle, they deploy long balls and in away games they sit back and give the ball to the opposition.

That will be their undoing, we will use players on the wings as decoys to grab attention then strike through the middle with the wingers cutting into the 18 going for the kill and in split seconds we will go from one man in the box to 3 and 1 extra just at the edge of the 18 so they won't know what hit them.

We will be steps ahead, I know once we do that twice El Kanemi will switch to their plan "B" leaving just one man up front going for counter attacks.

But they are aggressive, and work endlessly while defending, typical with any Ladan Bosso side but they sit deep avoiding the high line method of defending, with that are sure to win so we tease them with the ball, and they will commit themselves.

So we have to be careful and watch out for counter attacks, but their general game play will be cautious and deep, and with our brand of football which entails triangular passing, we will be fine.

Then I told my boys we will show them what it's like to walk out on the holy ground of our Cathedral as the grass, the atmosphere and aura around the stadium works for us. It is all ours.

Picture it. Look into your minds, see the crowd, the fans, your family out in their numbers, singing your names, chanting your fabled exploits and then the deafening noise the final whistle blows with the thousands singing “Holy! Holy!! Holy!!! Rangers, as we become heroes lifting off the 32 year old burden.

The load of shame, insults, being put down by the ever loud fans of clubs like Kano Pillars and Enyimba who fail to see us as equals.

At that point we would have shown them that we are among the elite and that we are here to stay.

32 years would mean nothing at that point; we would bring smiles to the old fans in Enugu who never thought their beloved club would once again see the glory days of the 80's.

The young fans who have blindly followed us, believing and supporting us, coming out in numbers week in, week out and we would be setting the pace for our fans unborn who will hear of our heroics and feel a part of this movement.

We are Rangers! A spirit, a movement, a religion and this Cathedral - our Holy Ground, our Sacred ground and we will engrave our names in stone as greats and as Deities and Demi-gods of this wonderful, prestigious club.

And At that point I took off my jersey, whirled it around in the air with one hand while folding a punch with the other (not a sight the lads were used to, everybody knows and loves the prop and prim Imama but this occasion needed the hidden monster within) the captain got on his feet and followed suit, before I knew it all the players did.


And I knew I had grown the lion hearts in the Antelopes and I ended by saying "let's do this, let's give the fans something to remember for years to come"
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