Gbenga Ogunbote believes Enugu Rangers will need “to reinvigorate” their squad to “be able to make a statement” in this season’s CAF Confederation Cup (CCC).
The Flying Antelopes will be competing in the group stage of the competition for the first time since 2004 and were drawn with four times winners Etoile du Sahel and CS Sfaxien both from Tunisia and first timers Salitas FC from Burkina Faso in Group B of the 2019 CAF Confederation Cup (CCC) in draws held on Monday in Cairo.
It is a tough group which has been likened to the proverbial group of death and Ogunbote believes Rangers must approach every team with utmost seriousness and work harder than every other team in order to make the knockout stages of the competition.
“The draw has been made all we want to do is to get prepared to make best use of it so we’ll just work harder to make sure we qualify,” Ogunbote told busybuddiesng.com.
“I think every team in the group is dangerous, I think every team has [an] equal chance of qualifying and that makes it interesting and every team should be taken seriously and are dangerous too.”
Etoile and CS Sfaxien are expected to provide the stiffest challenge to the 2018 Aiteo Cup champions’ bid of making the quarter finals but having enjoyed a stellar qualifying campaign that saw them face and vanquish teams from East (Defence Force), North (USM del Abbes) and South Africa (Bantu FC), the former Sunshine Stars and Enyimba gaffer believes Rangers have weathered sufficient storms to put them in good stead in Group B.
“I think the results so far [in qualifying] have exposed us to a lot of danger which every team from every country that wants to play us must to prepare very well looking at our results,” Ogunbote told busybuddiesng.com.
“I think it’s a motivating factor for us that if we can do that in the qualifying round, we can still do it in the group stage and this is going to give us a lot of confidence to come into the group stage even though we may be seen as an underdog we will do our best to make sure that we are motivated by the results so far.”
For a team that barely had any reinforcements, rest or preseason following their historic Aiteo Cup campaign, Rangers have surprised fans and pundits alike with their results in the qualifying phases of the Confederation cup and Ogunbote says trust in his methods and the players’ willingness to work towards a common goal have been the reason for their successes so far.
“There is nothing that is as good as having confidence in each other,” Ogunbote said, “I think the players believe in me they have so much confidence in me and I equally have confidence in them. Hence we have been working together to making sure that our dreams are actually actualised.”
Rangers are by no means the finished product, and while Ogunbote believes that a perfect squad is difficult to achieve, he says adding “one or two players” to the current squad will provide the team with “quality in all departments” to “be able to make a statement” in this season’s CAF Confederation Cup.
“No team can beat its chest about having the required or expected squad,” Ogunbote said about the capacity of his squad to go all the way in this year’s competition.
“But all we need to do is that we have a squad that can make a statement and thank God in this group stage we will be able to assess a few of our players that have been registered but whose registration have not really gone through and better still maybe add one or two players to it to reinvigorate the team so that we can have quality in all departments and I think with all this we will be able to make statement.”