Sunday, June 25, 2017 5:41 pm
A former Rangers International of Enugu and Green Eagles winger, Emeka Akabueze on Sunday alleged that the team’s former gaffer Imama Amapakabo, lost focus after winning the 2015/2016 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Amapakabo the broke a 32-year jinx by leading Rangers to a historic NPFL crown by winning the 2015/2016 NPFL trophy.
Things, however, went sour for the outspoken coach as the team failed to replicate the wining tone that set them above other teams in the league in the 2016/2017 league season.
Akabueze alleged that Amamakabo became adamant to advice given to him by the management and stakeholders of the club on how to move the team forward.
He also claimed that this had led to the dwindling fortunes of the club in the 2016/2017 league season.
“Rangers coach Amapakabo is good but he has his own flaws. When he won the last season’s league, I think the thing went into his head; he refuses to take advice.
“When he won the league, the management of the team gave him the freedom to choose all the players he wanted to shore up the team.
“He was given the free hand because he is the one that knows the team better, so the management did not interfere with his selection of the players he wanted.
“Things were getting worse for him when he refused to heed to advice given to him by the stakeholders of the club. Some players were suggested to him but were rejected,’’ he said.
Akabueze described Rangers as a club with a solid foundation, hence any coach that wanted to succeed in the club must follow the tradition of the club.
“Rangers is a team with great foundation, so the fans are always sad when the team starts to have problem like this. Any coach handling Rangers must follow the tradition.
“I know it is difficult to maintain success and to stay on top. The problem Imama has is that he has never played for Rangers before and so, he did not understand the structure.
“The issue is that Imama cannot sustain the position which Rangers were after the last season. He cannot blame anybody for his woes because he was given free hand.
“Things would not have degenerated to this if he had listened but the fault is not entirely his, other people in the management team also contributed to the situation,’’ he said.
Akabueze said that part of the problems with the Rangers team was the defence line which was not strong enough.
“Part of the problem discovered with Rangers is that the defence line is leaking, the team does not have good defence and the coach refuses to shore up the defence.
“Imama has won the league but his selections at times are headache because when he lost to Zesco United, we warned him about his defence which he refused to admit.
“We know that Zesco will score against us and they did, so Imama has nobody to blame for that defeat. He has won the league but to follow up is a problem to him.
“Some players were sent to him before the season started when they were camped in Benin, but Imama turned them down insisting on his recommendation,’’ he said.
Akabueze said that Rangers as a club represented an indigenous Igbo club but put in the custodian of Enugu State, hence it is a pride for the region.
“Rangers represent an indigenous Igbo Club as Shootings Stars and Stationary Stores are to the South-West and Ranchers Bees and Kano Pillars are to the North.
“The club is based in Enugu as a virtue of state creation and as a custodian. In the old, it is Rangers and other clubs. All Igbo’s love the club and cherish the tradition.
“There was a time when most of the players in the national team of the Igbo extraction were from Rangers. This shows how important the club is to us.
“The stakeholders are already looking at a way of salvaging the club because we love it,’’ he said.
Akabueze said that the entire system of the management of Rangers also shared the blame in the Rangers International, adding that the team’s current Manager, Christian Chukwu, should be given free hand.
“Some of the management of Rangers are also sabotaging the team in one way or the other. They did not lend the required support to Chukwu to succeed.
“When Rangers won the league, Chukwu was made the Team Manager and we expect support from everybody but that did not happen; some are sabotaging his effort.
“When we say that we have a board in Rangers, but the board is not meeting to discuss how to move the club forward. We have not had any sitting; so where is the board?
“In my own view, I think Chukwu should be allowed the free hand to handle the club. He is experienced and knows the club inside out, he once played for Rangers, so he has passion,’’ he said. (NAN)