Enugu Rangers head coach Gbenga Ogunbote says his team’s 1-0 loss to rivals Enyimba in their opening fixture of the 2018/2019 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) Super Six playoffs is a “temporary setback” and not “disaster”.
The Flying Antelopes fell to a Joseph Osadiaye 50th minute strike at the Agege Township Stadium, Lagos to begin their bid for an eighth league title on a sour note.
But Ogunbote refused to read too much into the loss saying he would “take positives” from the match and ensure that his team “make statements” in their four remaining games.
“The game has been played won and lost, I think I want to see it as a temporary setback, it’s not a disaster. I think we need to go back and take positives from this and we have four games left to make statements, I hope and pray that we get it right,” the former Enyimba coach said in the aftermath of his team’s loss.
Rangers have had a longer season than other teams with barely any rest from last season having started this season last November in the CAF Confederation Cup, a few weeks after winning the Aiteo Cup in October.
Whilst conceding that fatigue might be a consideration in his team’s display on Tuesday, Ogunbote, however, said notwithstanding the wear and tear of a long season “telling” on his players, they must still ensure they make the most of their remaining matches in the Super Six.
“Football is game of contact and I want you to know that we just finished playing 24 games and it is these same players that we have used and we played on the continent with the same players, knocks and all the rest of things are telling on the players.
“We are not making excuses for that but we cannot shy away from that too. But all I know is that we have played the first game, everybody is aware that the next four games are important, we will do our best to make sure that we have a balance in the team.”