By FISAYO DAIRO
Since the start of this season’s Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), champions Enugu Rangers have had their title defense rather more difficult than they could have imagined. The season got off to a worst possible start with a home loss to Abia Warriors – a team they got four points from last term.
Adding to the Flying Antelopes’ inability to kill off teams especially at home were the distractions of playing on the continent and also losing key players especially last year’s Nigerian Footballer of the Year, Chisom Egbuchulam and Nigerian Olympic goalkeeper Emmanuel Daniel.
One of the new players brought in by the team was former Enyimba of Aba winger Daniel Etor. The Akwa-Ibom born left-footed star bore the brunt of the fans’ anger after he was criticized in his team’s home loss and draw against Abia Warriors and Niger Tornadoes respectively, games wherein he came on as second half substitute.
In a chat with www.npfl.ng after he scored the only goal that secured victory for the Champions against ABS on Wednesday, Etor acknowledged it was indeed a tough start for him in Enugu.
“It was not an easy one at the initial stage,” begun a relieved Etor. “A lot of pressure were on the new players because the fans want to see what we can offer to the club. They believe the old players were better than the new ones so we knew we had a lot to do to convince them.”
Etor whose goals in successive home games for the Flying Antelopes at “The Cathedral” has directly contributed to the team winning successive home games for the first time this season also explained the impact of team’s technical adviser Imama Amapakabo in allowing him to bounce back after the rough start.
“When the whole thing was not working well, the coach, the T.A (Imama) had to call me and we talked like father and son. He told me he has a lot of belief in me for me to join his team and he believes in my capabilities to deliver at any time. The only thing left for me being just to set myself up which I have done with hard work and prayers.” added the diminutive winger.
While admitting that Rangers’ 14th position placement on the league log is not where they want to be, the former Akwa United star agreed and said they need to up their game going forward.
“We know we are not in a good position but the key for our improvement is making sure we make every game count. That is what we are going to be doing starting from Sunday against Rivers United.” he affirmed.
Etor was substituted on 52 minutes in the win over ABS after an undisclosed injury but the match winner assured that it will not hinder him from being part of the team that will make the 3-hour trip to Port Harcourt on Saturday ahead of Sunday’s game against Rivers United