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 Post subject: Hausa Rangers of Enugu
PostPosted: Sat Dec 26, 2020 6:27 pm 
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There was everything Igbo about Enugu Rangers in the first decade of existence. The arrival of Adokiye Amiesimaka did not change much because of his maternal background. Beyond the facade, Hausa language was freely used in training.

Rangers came at the end of the Civil War and psychologically, Ndigbo used the team to regain much of what they lost as a result of Biafra.

Ndubuisi Isima, whose elder brother Okey, joined the Flying Antelopes in 1977, ten years after formation, told me that the first time he watched the team in training, some of the players communicated in Hausa.

The Isimas, ten of them, were born in Kano although their parents hailed from Nsugbe in Anambra State. Okey came in 1957 as the seventh child. Beyond Rangers, he found his way back to the North, teaming up with Standard of Jos and much later El Kanemi of Maiduguri.

When Enugu Rangers appeared in 1970, the club’s first goal in a competitive match was scored by Kenneth ‘ Magician’ Abana. He also scored their first International goal, against Sector Seven of Niger Republic. Abana, an Agukwu Nri, Anambra man, grew up in Jos.

St. Murumba College trained Abana. That school also produced Segun Odegbami, one of Africa’s best right wingers and Benedict Akwuegbu, a member of the Super Eagles squad to the Korea/Japan 2002 World Cup. Some accounts say Mikel Obi was there too.

Another pioneer Flying Antelope, Chukwuma ‘ It’s a goal’ Igweonu, from Enugwu Agidi, Anambra State had lived most of his life in the North. He attended Igbo Union Primary School Gusau before proceeding to St. Paul’s College (Kufena), Zaria. He captained his secondary school to win the Davis Cup for secondary schools in the Northern Region in 1959.

Igweonu settled in Jos where he first combined work with soccer at UAC before joining Plateau FC. Before joining Rangers, the striker played for the Port Harcourt Red Devils. His first and only appearance at the African Nations Cup was at Ghana ’63, which was also the Green Eagles’ debut.

Godwin Ogbueze hit Rangers camp straight from school in 1971. He left Jos for St. Theresa’s College, Nsukka. His parents, Clement and Maria Ogbueze, found home in the North and had their children, Theresa, Sylvester, Lizzy, Joseph and Martin there.

Ogbueze, from Mgbowo- Awgu, Enugu had a buddy in Jos, Andrew Atuegbu.Both were supposed to move to Nsukka together. The latter changed his mind, opting for St. Joseph’s, Vom. Andy had fought the war as a Biafran Air Force officer.

Sam Onyeaka also lived in Jos. He joined Rangers from Vasco Da Gama in 1973. His first club after the war was NCFC Dragons. Like Andy, Onyeaka was with the Biafran Air Force and as a striker bore the nickname 404. You could also call him Achimota.

The duo of Ogidi Ibeabuchi and Stanley ‘ Englishman’ Okoronkwo lived in Jos. War sent them back to the East and before joining the Coal City team, they settled in Aba.

Aloysius Nkem Atuegbu found his way to Rangers in 1976. The famous Atuegbus hailed from Adazi Nnukwu, Anambra State. Dad, Richard, began it all and was invited to the national camp in the 1940s.


Their mother was not comfortable with her five sons: Mathew (Mogambo the truck pusher), Nicholas ( Atilla the Hun), Andrew, Aloy (Block buster) and Fidelis ( Jakorter) playing soccer. All attended St. Theresa’s primary school,Jos.

All but Fidelis played for Mighty Jets of Jos and the Green Eagles of Nigeria. And they played against Rangers in the grand finale of the 1974 Challenge Cup. General Yakubu Gowon visited their Jos home promising them Volkswagen cars if Jets beat the Flying Antelopes. Mathew and Nicholas were Biafran soldiers.

Rangers defeated Jets 2-0 to win their first Challenge Cup. There was another Biafran soldier in the Jets team, Kelechi ‘ Caterpillar’ Emeteole. He joined Rangers in 1977. Mathew and Nicholas, also followed their brother, Aloy, to Enugu.

Dominic Nwobodo remains the only Flying Antelope who became Alhaji. Funnily enough, he neither prayed in the mosque nor visited Mecca. It was at Onikan Stadium that he was ‘turbanned’.

Rangers won the Second Civil War when they lifted the Amachree Cup in 1971. That triumph earned them a continental ticket. In one of the games, the Enugu side defeated Nigeria Army 2-1.

Nwobodo scored one of the goals and got a head injury for tormenting the opposition. With a bloodied head, fans expected him to quit. No way! Many did not know he was a Biafran commando and had seen blood in battle. Elder brother, Chris, died fighting in defence of Owerri.

At Onikan, Nwobodo left the field, got his bloodied head bandaged and returned to disturb the Army team the more. He was aptly named Alhaji because of the bandage on his head.

Rangers were ready to win or die in the field. Many of them were Biafran soldiers and saw the match as an opportunity to show that they lost the war because of weapons disadvantage.

Skipper Godwin Achebe, Ernest Ufele, Luke Okpala, Nwabueze Nwankwo, Igweonu, Nwobodo, all were tested soldiers. Team founder Jerry Enyeazu was a major. Coach Dan Anyiam was a captain.

The Nigeria Army team of Ken Olayombo, Paul Hamilton, Rigogo Inua, Sam Opone, Mohammed Lawal and Segun Olumodeji could not stand the Biafran fighters. One account said Col.Olusegun Obasanjo toyed with the idea of locking up the losers in the guardroom for falling to hungry looking ex- Biafran soldiers.

When Obasanjo became Head of State and climbed to the rank of general, he still had to contend with Rangers and moved them to Kaduna in the North.

It was in an explosive African Winners Cup semi finals second leg match against defending champions, Shooting Stars of Ibadan.

The match was shiftedd from Lagos to the Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna. Atuegbu was there. Onyeaka was there and Ogidi, Okoronkwo and Isima as well. All Hausa speaking Rangers. A few kilometers away, there was a team called Zaria Rangers.

Rangers were very much at home in Kaduna even if Shooting Stars had Hausa speakers in Odegbami and Tunde Bamidele. Mathematical miscalculated and lost a penalty. Rangers laughed last, dethroned the Champions and moved on to win the cup.
https://www.nextedition.com.ng/sports-f ... s-of-enugu

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 26, 2020 11:37 pm 
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Really good piece but it was Yar Adua that moved Rangers IICC to Kaduna not Obasanjo.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 27, 2020 4:46 pm 
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Good piece. Interesting how so many footballers grew up in Jos!


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 27, 2020 5:08 pm 
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ukwala wrote:
Good piece. Interesting how so many footballers grew up in Jos!

From Sam 'Garuba' Okoye to modern day ballers like Mikel... :clap:

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 27, 2020 6:19 pm 
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Gotti wrote:
ukwala wrote:
Good piece. Interesting how so many footballers grew up in Jos!

From Sam 'Garuba' Okoye to modern day ballers like Mikel... :clap:

Truly amazing and also confounding that a Jos team has never dominated Nigerian football at any time.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 27, 2020 6:40 pm 
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ukwala wrote:
Gotti wrote:
ukwala wrote:
Good piece. Interesting how so many footballers grew up in Jos!

From Sam 'Garuba' Okoye to modern day ballers like Mikel... :clap:

Truly amazing and also confounding that a Jos team has never dominated Nigerian football at any time.
...Mighty Jets of Jos were one of the top clubs in the 1970s. Along side Rangers, IICC, Bendel Insurance.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 27, 2020 8:46 pm 
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ukwala wrote:
Good piece. Interesting how so many footballers grew up in Jos!

Yeah! Nigerians were more united and indeed, ONE NATION then, than these days.

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Ecclesiastes 1:18: For in much wisdom is much grief and he that increases knowledge increases sorrow.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 27, 2020 8:49 pm 
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mcal wrote:
ukwala wrote:
Gotti wrote:
ukwala wrote:
Good piece. Interesting how so many footballers grew up in Jos!

From Sam 'Garuba' Okoye to modern day ballers like Mikel... :clap:

Truly amazing and also confounding that a Jos team has never dominated Nigerian football at any time.
...Mighty Jets of Jos were one of the top clubs in the 1970s. Along side Rangers, IICC, Bendel Insurance.

... the list includes a team such as 'Racca Rovers' (spelling).

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And the BIBLE says: The race is NOT for the swift, neither is the battle for the strong nor ... but time and chance makes them all.
Ecclesiastes 1:18: For in much wisdom is much grief and he that increases knowledge increases sorrow.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2020 9:39 am 
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mcal wrote:
ukwala wrote:
Gotti wrote:
ukwala wrote:
Good piece. Interesting how so many footballers grew up in Jos!

From Sam 'Garuba' Okoye to modern day ballers like Mikel... :clap:

Truly amazing and also confounding that a Jos team has never dominated Nigerian football at any time.
...Mighty Jets of Jos were one of the top clubs in the 1970s. Along side Rangers, IICC, Bendel Insurance.


I believe they city of Jos, along with Ibadan, was also the only one to consistently support two top teams in the top league (AsabaTex were from Asaba not Benin).


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2020 10:43 am 
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Aswani wrote:
mcal wrote:
ukwala wrote:
Gotti wrote:
ukwala wrote:
Good piece. Interesting how so many footballers grew up in Jos!

From Sam 'Garuba' Okoye to modern day ballers like Mikel... :clap:

Truly amazing and also confounding that a Jos team has never dominated Nigerian football at any time.
...Mighty Jets of Jos were one of the top clubs in the 1970s. Along side Rangers, IICC, Bendel Insurance.


I believe they city of Jos, along with Ibadan, was also the only one to consistently support two top teams in the top league (AsabaTex were from Asaba not Benin).

I think it was one at a time, Mighty Jets, then Standard, then JIB Rock strikers, then Plateau Utd. And hey, why did you miss out Enugu? P&T Vasco Dagama was a top team as well (don't let Enugu II catch you o!).


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2020 5:37 pm 
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Aswani wrote:
mcal wrote:
ukwala wrote:
Gotti wrote:
ukwala wrote:
Good piece. Interesting how so many footballers grew up in Jos!

From Sam 'Garuba' Okoye to modern day ballers like Mikel... :clap:

Truly amazing and also confounding that a Jos team has never dominated Nigerian football at any time.
...Mighty Jets of Jos were one of the top clubs in the 1970s. Along side Rangers, IICC, Bendel Insurance.


I believe they city of Jos, along with Ibadan, was also the only one to consistently support two top teams in the top league (AsabaTex were from Asaba not Benin).

Lagos, Stationery Stores, NEPA, ACB, Leventis.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2020 10:07 pm 
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Aswani wrote:
mcal wrote:
ukwala wrote:
Gotti wrote:
ukwala wrote:
Good piece. Interesting how so many footballers grew up in Jos!

From Sam 'Garuba' Okoye to modern day ballers like Mikel... :clap:

Truly amazing and also confounding that a Jos team has never dominated Nigerian football at any time.
...Mighty Jets of Jos were one of the top clubs in the 1970s. Along side Rangers, IICC, Bendel Insurance.


I believe they city of Jos, along with Ibadan, was also the only one to consistently support two top teams in the top league (AsabaTex were from Asaba not Benin).


Aswani,

Nah waaa oh! So Vasco Da Gama no day your football dictionary? How about Lagos NEPA and Stationery Stores? Even before then, Lagos Leventis?

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2020 11:56 pm 
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My apologies to Uncle Enugu II, yes indeed, I developed a bizarre blind spot to P & T Vasco Da Gama of Enugu when I was typing that.

I am referring to the 70's as well as no later than 81.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2020 1:21 pm 
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What a great team until Felix Agbonifo, Chris Ogu, Peter Egbareva and Alabi Aissien decided to burst their bubble. Rangers have never really recovered from that drubbing and I doubt if they will ever be the same again.

As per Jos, there is just something about that city which produces players. Mikel Obi, Benedict Akwuegbu and Ben Idahor all started their careers there.

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