Gbenga Ogunbote defends Itoya, Ibrahim's substitute roles

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Enugu Rangers media
The Flying Antelopes gaffer has stated that he picks his squad according to his dictates and what is best for the team at any given period

Enugu Rangers head coach, Gbenga Ogunbote has stressed that he deploys his players to games based on what he feels his best for the team after questions are asked about Kelvin Itoya and Ajani Ibrahim's substitute appearances in the Wednesday’s Caf Confederation Cup preliminary round, first leg fixture against Defence Force of Ethiopia.

The game was still goalless when Ogunbote introduced both players in place of Godwin Zaki and Ifeanyi George and the Flying Antelopes scored twice thereafter to ensure they will be taking a 2-0 first-leg advantage to Addis Ababa ahead of the return leg.

Speaking to journalists at the end of the explosive encounter, Ogunbote pointed out that he knew his players struggled a little in the game and that the performance was connected to their inability to prepare adequately for the game and the fact that they lost some of their players to incomplete registration.

He said he used Itoya and Ibrahim in the game with the Ethiopians to do the hatchet job which they did well but that it doesn’t mean that they would continue to be making substitute appearances because they have started some games together before.

“We should not forget that we had challenges ahead of this game,” Ogunbote told the media.

“I want to commend the team. We might have started poorly because we could have wrapped up the game in the first half with the opportunities we had. We are happy we have two goals in our kitty.

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“I have a way of handling my team and I will use a player when I know that it is best fit or suitable for him. We need the advantage and it is an advantage to us that Kelvin Itoya and Ajani Ibrahim will have to come on in the second half so be it. There are games they have played from the start and we still won. We will make a decision base on the matter at hand at that point in time.

“I need to commend my players because we need to realize that this team resumed barely two weeks ago and we didn’t have enough time to prepare for this game. I want to believe that the team will improve as the game goes. We also had problems with our registration of players. We just have to manage with what we have.”

The return leg holds in Addis Ababa next week.

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