Enugu Rangers head coach Gbenga Ogunbote is hoping to avenge his team’s league loss to Nasarawa United this season on the Solid Miners when both teams face at the semi-final stage of the AITEO Cup on Wednesday.
2016 beaten finalists Nasarawa United are already in Kano to face Rangers – winners in 1983 – at the Sani Abacha Stadium in one of the two semi-final games scheduled to hold on Wednesday. Both teams have something in common; they both beat defending champions Akwa United at one stage or the other before reaching the semifinal.
Speaking to www.aclsports.com, Ogunbote admitted the familiarity of the Nasarawa side and enumerated his crave to get one past Kabiru Dogo’s team after they beat his side courtesy of a 95th minute goal in Lafia on January 29.
“Nasarawa United we know is not a small team. We lost once to them in the league and were not able to pay them back in their own coin as the league ended abruptly. So, we have conditioned our minds towards stopping them on their tracks on Wednesday in Kano,” said Ogunbote.
Both Rangers and Nasarawa United finished top of their groups, the Flying Antelopes flying above others in the Kano zone while Nasarawa United edged the group that had defending champions Akwa United, in Aba.
Ogunbote’s Rangers then defeated Akwa United in the quarter final stage via penalty shootout and the former Enyimba FC coach reflected on the hard fought victory while looking forward to more stern tests as they move on in the tournament.
“It was a tough match against the defending champions but I believe that if you want to be a champion, you must beat champions.
“Looking ahead to the semi-finals, we are not expecting anything less because as you progress, the competition becomes tougher and we are prepared to hold tight to our plans as our target remains hitting the finals and being crowned champions,” said Ogunbote.
Aside the Rangers/Nasarawa clash, Kano Pillars FC and Katsina United will also face in the other semi final game billed for the Agege Township Stadium, also on Wednesday.