Lobi Stars head coach Solomon Ogbeide has insisted that it was the three points that really mattered after his side struggled to beat Rivers United 2-1 in one of their rescheduled league matches played at the Aper Aku Stadium, Makurdi on Wednesday.
Sikiru Alimi and Michael Stephen scored the Pride of Benue’s two goals before Cletus Emotan’s free-kick late on proved to be a consolation to the Pride of Rivers.
Ogbeide while reflecting on the hard-earned victory, declared emphatically that Lobi Stars are only focused on the league after their exit from the Caf Champions League and that they are hoping that the experience they garnered playing on the continent will galvanize them to go all out again in the defence of the league crown they won last season.
He praised the effort of their defeated opponents, Rivers United whom he called a tactically sound side but challenged his players to show champions stuff in their remaining outstanding games so that they could assume the summit of the league table which is presently occupied by MFM.
“It was a good match because we were able to return to winning ways after the draw we played against Katsina United at home,” Ogbeide told GOAL.
“It was the three points that mattered at this point because we knew that we must be very serious and more clinical to get a good result against a very tactical Rivers United side. I have to praise them for the points we were able to get but they must do more in future games to show that we are serious about our quest to retain the league title.
“It was tough for us on the continent but we are grateful to God for what he used us to do. We might not have got to our target which is to qualify for the quarter-final of the Caf Champions League but ensuring that Nigeria will present additional teams in both the Caf Champions League and the Caf Confederation Cup has made us be very proud of our modest achievement. We can look back and say that we did our best.
“Our focus now is on the NPFL which playing on the continent didn’t allow us to play like the other teams. We want to show our rivals that we are truly ready to reclaim that which is ours and we are going to ensure that nothing stands in our way. We got these three points even though it was tough and we hope to play the rest of the rescheduled games with more purpose.”
Lobi Stars have moved to the third position in the NPFL Group A with 14 points from seven games and they are due to host Niger Tornadoes this weekend in another league match.