NPFL: Rangers, Enyimba Face Off in All-Important Oriental Derby

The week 35 Nigerian Professional Football League match between Rangers International Football Club of Enugu and Enyimba Football Club of Aba has become the most anticipated football game in Nigeria if not the whole of Africa.

Known as the Oriental derby, the match between the two most successful club sides in Nigeria has always been a big fixture, but today’s game is even huger with the league title in the balance.

With just three games remaining for this NPFL season to come to an end, Rangers is leading the log with 61 points and is closely followed by Enyimba and Remo Stars with 59 points each.

This means that the winner of today’s match will have a greater chance of lifting the league title.

While Enyimba are the defending champion of the league, Rangers won it last in 2016 and are currently not leaving any stone unturned to see that the trophy which they have lifted 7 times, only behind Enyimba (9 times), returns to Enugu.

This mouth-watering encounter is currently enjoying the hype it deserves both from the clubs and their fans. This is undoubtedly the most hype and awareness the Nigerian league has enjoyed for a very long time.

Preparations are in top gear from both clubs regarding Sunday’s cracker. Apart from intense training by both team players, we have seen efforts from the management of both teams to try and gather support for their teams at the stadium on Sunday.

The chairman of Enyimba, Nwankwo Kanu, is said to have announced that coaster buses would be available to take fans of the club from Aba to Enugu to ensure that the team does not lack support in Enugu.

On the other hand, a popular Enugu influencer and a die-hard fan of Rangers, Okwuluora, is mobilizing support for the Flying Antelopes both on the streets of Enugu and on social media. Okwuluora’s support for the team has been instrumental in their fine run this season. He held a massive rally in Enugu on Saturday morning in a bid to drum support for the team ahead of the Sunday game.

The importance of today’s match is not lost on both Admins of Enyimba and Rangers on social media, with both clubs sharing some interesting banters on their X handles to the excitement of their fans as well as neutrals.

The social media engagement between both clubs has ensured that the oriental derby remains one of the most discussed topics on the Nigerian social media space this week.

The stage is now set for the biggest game in the Nigerian league in a while. If Rangers win, they will consolidate their lead with 5 points and if Enyimba emerge victorious they will topple Rangers and lead with a point with just two games to play. Meanwhile, with 59 points as Enyimba, Remo Stars are hanging around to benefit should both teams play out a draw and the Ikenne, Ogun State team manage to win away against Lobi Stars. However it plays out, we will see by the end of tomorrow.

Rangers are in fine form in the NPFL. They have won 15 home games at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium this season.

Enyimba are equally in good form in the league this season. They have won four away games.

Head to head: Both teams have met 28 times, with Enyimba winning 13 times and Rangers winning 9 times. This fixture has ended in a draw 6 times.

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