FLYING ANTELOPE 'LL FALL IN KANO
The main bowl of the Sani Abacha Stadium in Kano comes alive this afternoon as Enugu Rangers International and Sunshine Stars of Akure fight for the bronze medal in this year's Federation Cup competition. Both teams crashed out of the title race in the semi-finals with Rangers bowing to Kaduna United, while Sunshine Stars lost to Enyimba International of Aba.
It will be the fourth time the two sides will meet this year and the second time they clash in this year's Federation Cup. In their two-legged fixtures in the immediate past Glo Premier League season, Sunshine defeated Rangers 2-0 in Akure, while the reverse fixture at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium in Enugu ended goalless.
Both teams met again in the group phase of the Federation Cup at the Kano Centre and the encounter also ended goalless, but the result was enough to help both sides grab the two available tickets from the group to progress to the quarterfinals of the competition.
Sunshine Stars' first choice goalkeeper, John Gaadi, is, however, confident that Rangers will bow to his side in the battle for bronze this afternoon.
Gaadi, who is returning from injury, told Saturday Sunsports in a telephone chat, mid-week that winning the bronze medal would be an icing on the cake for his team after finishing third in the recently concluded league season to book a ticket to the continent next year and for the first time in the history of Sunshine Stars.
'I'm happy to be back after missing the just concluded Super Four Play-offs in Ijebu-Ode due to injury. I'm in good shape for the game against Rangers.
'I know that Rangers is a good side, but I'm confident that my team will win the bronze in this year's Federation Cup. Rangers will fall in Kano this time round,' the veteran shot stopper declared.
Reminded that Rangers, popularly known as Flying Antelope is a traditional club with teeming fans cutting across tribe and religion in the country, Gaadi insisted that his team would win today's third place match.
'We are not scared about Rangers' pedigree and teeming supporters. We know that they have fans across the country, but we are determined to beat them this time around to win the bronze medal. We have met them four times this season and we have proved that we are the better team.
'Sunshine beat Rangers 2-0 in Akure and held them to a goalless draw in Enugu in the recently concluded league season. Our first meeting with them in the group stage of this year's Federation Cup ended goalless and we shall confirm our superiority over Rangers on Saturday (today),' the former Enyimba International goalkeeper boasted ahead of this afternoon's clash.
The players to watch in today's game are striker, Ibrahim Babale, who is expected to lead the assault for Sunshine Stars, while the Akure side must watch out for diminutive midfielder, Ejike Uzoenyi, who is certain to prove a handful for Sunshine this afternoon.
This match serves as a curtain raiser for tomorrow's epic final between two times winner, Enyimba International of Aba and Kaduna United at the same venue.