Lobi Stars of Makurdi coach, Gbenga Ogunbote has put his side’s surge to the table top in the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) down to good attitude and great character on the part of his players, who he praised for staying focused despite going through a tough schedule in their first 24 matches of the season, megasportsarena.com gathered.
The former Rangers International of Enugu coach said in the wake of his side’s 1-0 victory over visiting Mountain of Fire & Miracles Ministry (MFM) FC of Lagos on Sunday that it would have been satisfying for the season to end with that match, as it would have meant Lobi Stars winning the title once again, as they did two seasons ago.
Back then, though, it was an abridged campaign, as League Management Company (LMC) had to cut the season short in order to meet up with the continental calendar from Confederation of African Football (CAF), but Ogunbote said he relishes taking the middle belt side to the summit.
The veteran soccer tactician, who has also previously handled Sunshine Stars of Akure, Shooting Stars of Ibadan and Enyimba of Aba in the NPFL, reckoned that it would have been good if his side could be crowned champions right away, but admitted they just have to brace up to the fact that there is still a long way to go in the season and they need to work harder to get the title.
He added in a chat with Brila FM that it has not been easy getting where they are, and stressed that the team worked for the successes they have gained so far, as he acknowledged early that they are in for a Herculean task; but added that the target now is to hold onto their lead.
Ogunbote stated: “We are top of the table now, and I wish the season could end now. It’s 24 matches already, and that is not easy. It’s tough playing 24 matches, and we are all feeling the strain, but we have to keep going. We have reached this far through strong character and good attitude. I wish the season could end now, but we have to continue staying focused and strong.
“We’ve really worked towards it, and honestly I just wish the season could end today. 24 games is a huge match, a huge number. So, we will continue to work hard to be able to sustain the lead and the success. I hope we will be able to manage the success. It’s just a matter of character and attitude. We will work towards it to be able to maintain the lead.”