2018 Aiteo Cup Final – Rangers goalkeeper Femi Thomas goes for a ball against Kano Pillars

Coach Gbenga Ogunbote has told SCORENigeria his future at 2018 Aiteo Cup winners Enugu Rangers could be decided next week following the expiration of his one-year contract with the club. 

Ogunbote helped the club end their 35-year wait for a sixth Aiteo Cup success following a dramatic 4-2 win on penalties over Kano Pillars after a 3-3 draw by full time.

“Yes, I signed a one-year contract with Rangers,” he told SCORENigeria

“But we are still celebrating our Aiteo Cup win. In a few days we’ll be able to talk about that.

“Maybe by Monday we should have got over the happy and celebration mood of the moment, so we can then maybe sit down and look at the next line of action, whether I’m still going to be in Rangers or not.

“It takes two to tango especially on issues such as this.”

He added: “Even if I want to stay, Rangers may not want or Rangers may want me to stay, but I don’t want to stay.

“So for now, for the two parties, I think we’ve really enjoyed ourselves.

“And the good thing for me is that I have come, seen and conquered, so I’m grateful to God, Rangers and the good people of Enugu.”

Ogunbote also told SCORENigeria that Rangers were crowned 2018 Aiteo Cup winners on the day they dethroned 2017 winners Akwa United in the quarterfinal.

The former Shooting Stars handler, who is fondly called ‘Oracle’, on Wednesday achieved what is now known as ‘Miracle of Asaba’  by becoming the first coach to come from 3-0 down to win the Aiteo Cup when Rangers cancelled out Pillars 3-0 lead to win 4-2 on penalties.

“I’m delighted. Words cannot express my heartfelt joy especially if you consider the circumstances that surrounded the victory”, began Ogunbote after ending Rangers 35 years Aiteo Cup drought.

“(At 3-0 down) I was telling myself that even if we should lose out in the Aiteo Cup, it shouldn’t be to Kano Pillars. We did not have a reason to lose the game.

“Like I told my players after we defeated then reigning cup holders Akwa United, that there is no reason Rangers won’t be winners. So we became winners the day we defeated Akwa United.”

Ogunbote praised the character of his team.

“I’m happy for the players’ doggedness, their unyielding spirit, my backroom staff, the management and Enugu state government,” he saluted.

“Of course, not forgetting our committed and ever supportive fans. The supporters who are the 12th player on the pitch, we are grateful to them for their undiluted support which kept us pushing.”


By Sab Osuji


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