Seven-time NPFL champions Enugu Rangers International will be on continental duty this Sunday when they play Lesotho’s Bantu FC in the first leg of the CAF Confederation Cup playoff at the Setsoto Stadium in Maseru.
Bantu FC might be an unknown quantity on the continent but on their patch they have won the Lesotho title twice including last term. Their time in the Champions League this season came to an early end when AS Vita Club defeated them in the round prelude to the group stage sending them into the Confederation Cup playoff.
The Flying Antelopes are just one round away from reaching the group stage of Africa’s second tier club competition after conquering Ethiopia’s Defence Force FC and USM Bel Abbes of Algeria in the preliminary and first rounds respectively.
Gbenga Ogunbote is expected to keep faith with Ghanaian goalkeeper Nana Bonsu for this contest with a possible backline of that would have any of Isaac Loute, Akpos Adubi, Semiu Liadi, Chidera Ezeh, Ousmane Pape Sane or Okey Odita.
Rangers have options going forward with the like of super-sub Kelvin Itoya, Ajani Ibrahim, Ifeanyi George and Pascal Seka.
Despite their modest status in African football, Bantu FC will offer some form of resistance Lazola Jokojokwana, Hlompho Kalake, Lindokuhle Phungulwa, Neo Mokhachane, Litsepe Marabe and Thabo Lesaoana.
Rangers head coach Ogunbote knows that they will have to rise above being just paper favourites and “do the talking inside the pitch” against the inexperienced newcomers.
“I believe we can do the talking inside the pitch. The much we have prepared coming into the match will put us in the right stead for the result we desire. We don’t know much of our opponents other than they are league champions of Lesotho and stepped down from the more prestigious Champions League. We respect them for their feat but will play our game without any fear,” said the Rangers trainer to the club’s media this week before leaving for Lesotho.
Ogunbote’s men will need a result in Maseru to make the second leg in Enugu in a week look elementary otherwise there will be so much to play for when Bantu FC face them in the decisive leg of this contest.
© The Predictor NG