AiteoCupFinal: Winning will cushion relegation effect – Ogbonnaya

AiteoCupFinal: Winning will cushion relegation effect – Ogbonnaya

Niger Tornadoes centre back Reuben Ogbonnaya has told that his side have put their relegation from Nigeria’s top flight behind them and are focused on winning the 2019 AiteoCupFinal on Sunday.

Ogbonnaya has been a prominent member of the Ikon Allah Boys for the past four seasons and has been a key component of the side after his return from a lengthy injury layoff earlier this year.

He says his side have put relegation thoughts behind them.

“To be honest with you, we have put that (relegation) behind us,” said “Reubi” to

“The fact that we are playing in the CAF Confederation Cup is already a morale booster so winning the Aiteo Cup final will be a massive success for us.”

Sunday’s final between Tornadoes and Kano Pillars scheduled for the Ahmadu Bello Stadium in Kaduna will be a match-up between the losers of the last two finals.

Tornadoes lost on penalties to Akwa United in Agege, Lagos in 2017 and Pillars also lost on penalties to Rangers in Asaba last year.

Ogbonnaya, alongside goalkeeper Mustapha Aliko are the only surviving members of the 2017 team in Sunday’s final. The defender says this will help the team.

“It is good for the team because we have tested the final before and we know what to expect. So we will do everything possible to encourage the boys to give their best because winning it will be a great achievement.”

Pillars have also secured a CAF continental tournament ticket ahead of next season and Ogbonnaya, who has also played for Kano Pillars in the past says fans should expect an explosive contest.

“No doubt, they are so hungry as we are. It will be a very tough game no doubt. We respect them but not on the pitch. Nigerians should expect an explosive game on Sunday,” added Ogbonnaya

Tornadoes now have back as head coach, Abubakar Bala who led them to the final defeat to Akwa United in 2017. Bala was in charge of Kwara United at some point this past season but has returned Tornadoes to the final within four weeks of taking back the reins in Minna.

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