By Clement Nwankpa Jr
Rangers go into the CAF Confederation Cup group stage opener against Salitas of Burkina Faso this weekend sweating on the availability of defensive midfielder, Ugonna Uzochukwu.
Uzochukwu, who was outstanding in the 1-0 defeat of Enyimba last Sunday, was billed to leave for Abuja on Monday to firm up a proposed deal in Saudi Arabia.
He rejoined the Flying Antelopes after a stint in Egypt and was a key member of the victorious Federation Cup winning team last year.
His holding and box-to-box abilities have been a major attribute of the way Gbenga Ogunbote sets up his team.
The club engages Niger Tornadoes on Wednesday before their 2pm kickoff against Salitas on Sunday.
Club management was shocked to learn of Uzochukwu’s itinerary as he is deemed integral to their ambitions in the Confederation Cup, a tournament they have prioritised.
Plans were being made to shift his trip so as to ensure his availability for the Salitas game.
But even if he is available for the game, it is almost certain the club will be without his services at some point during the campaign.
They are however confident Solomon Okpako and new-signing Tony Msonter will make Uzochukwu’s absence less felt.
At the time of doing this report, the management was still awaiting CAF’s clearance for Msonter to feature on the continent.