Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) legend and former CAF Champions League winner Victor Ezeji has backed the country’s representatives in continental competitions; Lobi Stars and Rangers International to get valuable away results this weekend, www.aclsports.com reports.
Both Lobi and Rangers will be involved in their penultimate group stage games in the Champions League and Confederation Cup on Saturday and Sunday respectively away from home.
Lobi Stars are in South Africa for a crunchy clash with Mamelodi Sundowns on Saturday night while Rangers are in Burkina Faso for Sunday’s game against Salitas. In spite of both teams not getting a win in any of their last two matches, Ezeji remains confident of them scaling through this weekend.
“Lobi Stars were able to go to Morocco and get a draw against Wydad but basically they are playing against Sundowns who have made themselves thick in the continent at the moment but I believe that Lobi can get a result from Sundowns,” Ezeji told www.aclsports.com on Friday.
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“If they are able to get a draw or a win which I believe they can get either of them, then I see them getting out of the group stage but if they fail to get a result from South Africa this weekend, then that means they are completely out, there’s no two ways about it.
“But with the resistance that Lobi Stars have shown so far, I believe they will definitely come out with something,” added the 2003 CAF Champions League winner.
The former Enyimba and Rivers United forward believes that Rangers’ earlier run of unbeaten games has always been his fear for the team.
“Rangers have done so well, but my fear has always been this their unbeaten run.”
“When a team has been on an unbeaten run for up to eight games, then they start losing. Can they keep it? Can they bounce back? Will they be able to say this is a wake up call for us, we need to come all out and make sure that we win our subsequent games,” Ezeji queried.
He hopes that a right mental attitude will see them through against Salitas in Ouagadougou.
“That was my basic fear because the same team that gave them their first defeat in Tunisia, Etoile du Sahel came to Nigeria and still defeated them. The problem is, how far have they been able to cope in this back-to-back defeat from the same club?
“Salitas are the weakest link on paper in that group but they’ve proven some facts too. They held CS Sfaxien to a goalless draw in Tunisia, they also held Etoile who are also a big team in Ouagadougou to a goalless draw so it tells you that they’re just there to cause upset but my worry is how strong mentally is Rangers going into the game this weekend.
“Rangers have everything it takes and I believe with what they showed in the opening games of this Confederation Cup that Rangers can also get a result but I think the best result that will be very suitable for them is to get a win in Salitas which I believe they can get that win in Ouagadougou and then come back home to see how they can beat Sfaxien at home and get out of the group stage.
“All hope is not lost yet. I strongly believe in the Rangers team because they play good football just that nobody can explain what happened to them in the two games against Etoile,” said Ezeji.
While Lobi Stars will face Sundowns on Saturday night, Rangers’ game against Salitas is billed for Sunday at 4pm local time (3pm in Nigeria).