Former Nigeria international midfielder Sylvanus Okpala has been tipped as the man to revive the flagging hopes of Enugu Rangers this season.

The reigning Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) champions are in dire straits this term and are currently relegation candidates with just seven games remaining for the ‘Flying Antelopes’ to preserve their top flight status.

Okpala has now been saddled with the responsibility of keeping Rangers up and he has been backed to succeed by the club’s team manager, Amobi Ezeaku.

“Everyone knows Okpala; he comes in with a lot of experience and I wish him well,” Ezeaku told

Okpala takes over from Chukwuma Agbo who replaced Imama Amapakabo, the coach who led Rangers to their first top flight title in 32 years.

Okpala is a former Nigeria international who earned 45 caps at senior level.

He was also part of the coaching staff as Nigeria won the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa.

Okpala’s first task is to mastermind a victory for Rangers on Sunday against last season’s runners-up, Rivers United, as the NPFL enters Matchday 32, a feat Ezeaku believes can be achieved.

“Rangers will beat Rivers United on Sunday; I am very sure about that.

“I still believe Rangers have the best team in the NPFL but we have met some ill-luck and some problems along the way.

“Now it is time to turn things around with a win against Rivers United on Sunday,” he said.

Rangers currently occupy 17th spot on the NPFL standings with 39 points from 31 matches.