Niger Tornadoes defender Reuben Ogbonnaya has told www.aclsports.com he is confident that his return from a lengthy injury layoff will help his team escape relegation from the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) this season.
Winless in their last five matches, Tornadoes are bottom of the Group A table and are four points adrift of safety but Ogbonnaya who returned to action last weekend after spending six months on the sideline is happy to be back on the pitch again.
“Wow! I will have to find another word to define how I feel about playing again after a long injury. I feel so so so happy, I mean too happy to be back playing again,” Ogbonnaya told www.aclsports.com
“It wasn’t easy to bounce back like I did. I had to do everything possible to be back on the pitch and I’m grateful that I can do this again.”
Ogbonnaya has only featured in two games since his return but his contributions have already been felt. A team losing games easily now find it difficult to lose. Ogbonnaya played at right back last weekend when Tornadoes drew 2-2 at home to Lobi Stars and played at centre back on Wednesday in Makurdi when Lobi escaped defeat with a last minute Michael Stephen goal.
The former Kano Pillars defender is hopeful his return will mark a turnaround for his side.
“I’m back in the team now so hopefully, we shall come out of the relegation zone, I strongly believe. Watch out for us. We know we are better than our current position and very soon we will be out of it,” said Ogbonnaya.
After the management of the Minna based side issued a 3-game ultimatum to the team on Monday, the coach Hamza Abara-led side surprised all with their display in Makurdi against Lobi Stars which almost fetched them the three points on offer.
Up next for the Ikon Allah boys is another tough home clash with Rangers International at the Bako Kontagora Stadium, Minna. Ogbonnaya assures that his side will end Rangers’ four-game unbeaten run in the league on Sunday.
“Their (Rangers) unbeaten run will stop come this Sunday. They are a very very good side but we will overcome them here in Minna. Our wining will start with them. I strongly believe.
“We have played Lobi and we believe we have started on the right foot this second round. I believe my presence in the team will help us a lot. What happened last season will repeat itself again,” concluded Ogbonnaya.
There are ten more round of matches to be played in the regular NPFL abridged season. Tornadoes have nine points from their first twelve matches and they know that they must get almost double of that if they hope to get a miraculous escape like they did last season.