Winger Kelvin Itoya has assured that his team Enugu Rangers FC will “make sure” they qualify for the next round of the CAF Confederation Cup when they face Ethiopian side Defence Force in their second leg preliminary round clash in Addis Ababa on Wednesday.
Nigerian cup champions Rangers dug deep to record a 2-0 success over the Ethiopians in the first leg encounter decided at the Nnamdi Azikwe Stadium in Enugu last midweek and Itoya, who came on as a second half substitute in that game acknowledges the difficulty in this round of the competition but insists his side will do all they can to progress.
“We all know that CAF Confederation Cup preliminary stage is one of the most difficult rounds to play in. We have an advantage of two goals at home and we are going to make sure that we don’t leave any stone unturned,” said Itoya to www.aclsports.com
“We are going to make sure that we qualify for the second preliminary stage. We are going to make sure it doesn’t slip through our fingers just like that,” he assured.
Rangers were beaten 1-0 by nominated league champions Lobi Stars in the Nigerian Super Cup last month and the Flying Antelopes laboured to score against Ethiopians before Godwin Aguda’s second half penalty brace eased their tension in the first leg.
Former Warri Wolves winger, Itoya explained his team’s woes in front of goal and promised that such has now been resolved.
“The first leg game was our second game since we resumed after our Super Cup match against Lobi Stars and we have not had enough time together after the AITEO Cup final but that’s not an excuse anyway.
“But we have really worked on our goalscoring and on our ability to convert scoring chances so I think the game on Wednesday will be a different ball game.”
A 31-man delegation of Rangers arrived Addis Ababa on Tuesday night ahead of the game billed for the Addis Ababa International Stadium on Wednesday night. Experienced CAF club competition campaigners such as Semiu Liadi, Ajani Ibrahim, Isaac Loute and Femi Thomas were in the Rangers delegation.
“I think for most of us on this trip to Ethiopia, I think we have tasted the CAF Confederation Cup or the Champions League at one stage or the other and I think the experience is going to help us a lot in the game because experience does count at this Confederation Cup and Champions League level,” added Itoya.
The game between Defence Force SC and Rangers International will kick off at 4pm Ethiopian time (2pm Nigerian time).