Right or wrong? Why was Rangers United CEO named in NPFL matchday teamlist?

Rangers United, popularly called Enugu Rangers have won the Nigeria Professional Football League seven times, and the African Cup Winners’ Cup once.

Enugu Rangers coach, Fidelis Ilechukwu, has included the club’s Chief Executive Officer and General Manager in his squadlist for the second half of the NPFL season, Soccernet.ng reports.

Amobi Ezeaku, the club’s CEO, has been registered as a footballer for the second round of the 2023/2024 NPFL season and was included in the team’s matchday squad to face Niger Tornadoes today. He will wear the number eleven jersey.

The switch of roles from being an administrator to being the player on the pitch has sparked several reactions on social media, with many questioning if it is a legal move by Flying Antelopes.

Ezeaku, who has a footballing background himself, revealed in a conversation with Osasu Obayiuwana that the coach’s pleas made him return to action on the pitch.

“I’ve been training with the team. I play football. During the mid-season transfer, the coach felt that he needed me and pleaded with me to get registered. I’m in Kaduna and I may play in the second half. It’s up to the coach to play me. According to the coach, he has not seen a striker who scores goals the way I score goals. I love this game, the fact that I am the club chairman does not ban me from playing,” the General Manager said.

However, Ezeakwu’s situation isn’t the first of its kind in the Nigerian League with former Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu , donning the colours of Bendel Insurance, even helping them get promoted to the Nigerian top-flight league in the 2021/2022 season, before announcing his retirement at the age of 52.

For Ezeakwu, being a player and the CEO is not a conflict of interest, as he believes his love for the game transcends his role, regardless of the actions involved.

“There is no conflict. I was born to love football and I will die loving this game. I know the power of the coach, and on the field, he is in charge. In training, I’m there on time, I listen to them. It’s about the game we love. His decision is not influenced, if he has to take me off, I go off,” Amobi added.

Enugu Rangers are currently third on the NPFL table and are just two points away from the first place. They have won twelve games and drawn seven under Fidelis Ilechukwu this season.

N.B: We’d like to know your thoughts. Do you think administrative staff should stick to their roles? Or can they switch simultaneously like Ezeakwu?

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