Rangers coach Gbenga Ogunbote has criticized the timing of his team’s Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) fixture against MFM saying it deprives his team of sufficient recovery time following their exertions on the continent.
The Flying Antelopes who have had their NPFL fixtures postponed due to their continental engagements, kick start their 2018/2019 NPFL season against the Olukoya Boys on Wednesday 23, January at the Agege Stadium just three days after defeating Lesotho side Bantu FC in the second leg of the CAF Confederation Cup playoff round and Ogunbote believes the fixture is coming too soon for his charges.
“To be honest with it’s coming at a time that I wouldn’t like,” Ogunbote told busybuddiesng.com, “but there’s nothing anybody can do considering the stress the team just recently went through. We went to Lesotho to play and we spent almost four days on the road coming back spending another four days playing a game on Sunday and then coming to play [MFM].
“I’m not trying to make excuses but then that’s a fact or two, I was thinking we were going to have a few days to rest.”
The peculiar format of the 2018/2019 NPFL season where teams have been split into two groups of 12 and the rush to complete it in time to align with major European leagues has provided a condensed fixture list with barely any rest times for teams. With four teams set to be relegated from each group there is barely any room for error and Ogunbote says Rangers who have lost just once in five meetings against MFM must ensure they get a result in what he expects to be tough start to their league season.
“Playing our first game it’s a familiar terrain I know that it’s going to be an interesting one we are going to do our very best to make sure that our first game is taken very seriously, the result matters and we should know that we are playing [an] abridged league [and] in [an] abridged league every game is important so we are taking it seriously.”