Enugu Rangers and Heartland FC of Owerri will lock horns in the Nigerian Professional Football League today at the Nnamdi Azikiwa Stadium in what football stakeholders’ dubbed oriental derby.
The two most historical and successful teams has all the resonance of a fierce local derby, but even with the disparity in league position, both face a common threat.
Rangers popularly known as the Flying Antelopes were the dominant force of the decade spanning the mid-70s to mid-80s, winning all six of their league titles in that period, but Heartland, then Iwuanyanwu Nationale took the baton from then on, with five of their own over the next nine years. It is this sense that the waning of one light coincided with the rise of the other, as though precipitating it in some way, which lends special relevance to this fixture.
However former Rangers and defunct Iwuanyanwu, now Heartland player, Joe Ashinze, believes today’s eternal derby will bring out the best from the oriental brothers, Enugu Rangers and Heartland who would be fighting one another just for the three maximum point as take in today’s match.
Ashinze said, “It is always a tough match any day. A match that can only be compared to a Cup final and no team wants to lose a final.I remember when I returned to Enugu with Nationale in 1989 after leaving Rangers, in 1988. Enugu fans and the club management were not happy with me for joining Nationale. However, we left with a point on match day.’’
Nevertheless, both sides come into today’s derby after heavy defeats on match day seven.
Wikki Tourists defeated Rangers 4-2, while Heartland recorded their worst outing in over a decade at the Dan Anyiam Stadium after losing 0-3 to an impressive Sunshine Stars.

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