Former Enugu Rangers captain Matthew Etim believes the flying antelopes are favourites to lift the 2018 Aiteo Cup trophy and qualify automatically for the CAF confederations Cup at the expense of Kano Pillars in the final to be played in Asaba, Delta state on Wednesday October 24.
The Enugu based football club defeated Etim’s new club Akwa United in the quarter final of the competition before coming from two goals down to pip Nasarawa United 4 – 2 in the semi final played in Kano while Pillars beat Enyimba International in the quarter final before proceeding to beat northern rivals Katsina United 4 – 1 on penalties after the match ended 2 – 2 at the end of normal regulation time.
Etim who captained Rangers International to their first league title in 32 Years back in 2016 insists that with the tough games they’ve played and pulled through, he sees them as favorites to win against Pillars “I know it is going to be a very tough game but if Rangers can keep their heads down, like they did against Akwa United and Nasarawa United, they are going to scale through because if there was any team that gave them a tough time it was Akwa United and also their character when they played against Nasarawa United was top notch so I see them going through.”
The winner of the Aiteo Cup will represent Nigeria at the 2019 CAF Confederations Cup and for Etim the battle for the title will be fought in the midfield. “For Kano Pillars they are a very good team but I think if Rangers can dominate the midfield, they will become weak. If they are able to hold off the midfield threat of Nzube Anaezemba and Rabiu Ali and stop them from throwing those dangerous passes, they will carry the day.”
For Pillars, they currently present a huge goal threat with NPFL top goal scorer Junior Lokosa in their ranks but the Akwa United veteran defender is confident Lokosa will be caged. “I know that Okey Odita the skipper of the side with the whole of his experience will shut off the threats from Lokosa. Once this is done, every other thing will become easy for Rangers.”
Rangers international last won the FA cup in 1983.