Samad Kadiri has challenged his Lobi Stars teammates to ‘turn up’ against Rivers United in their Federation Cup quarterfinal clash, as a tribute to former coach Solomon Ogbeide, who was buried on Thursday in Benin.
Ogbeide died after a brief illness in Mmakurdi last month, on the same day they faced Wikki Tourist in a top-flight encounter, and a grieving Pride of Benue beat the Giant Elephants 2-1.
Kadiri asserted they could properly remember him for good, if they are able to beat Rivers United on Friday and thus progress to the semifinal of the cup competition.
“It was painful that the Nigeria Football Federation could not agree to our appeal for the game to be shifted from Friday so that we can all properly pay our last respect to coach Ogbeide who died while in active service,” Kadiri told Goal.
“We have accepted the excuse given that the country is almost behind schedule in the submission of the names of the teams that will represent Nigeria on the continent and we are ready to face Rivers United even though we are still mourning our late coach.
"We know that even if he was alive, he won’t have loved us to skip a game because even on his sick bed on the day we were supposed to play Wikki Tourist, he was still encouraging us to win the game.
“We owe our former coach a duty to win the Federation Cup. We need to dedicate something to him on a larger scale.
"We were not able to attend his burial as a complete group but we know that he is smiling at us now and cheering us up to win this game for him. It is the reason I am appealing to my colleagues to ensure that we put our body on the line to turn up against Rivers United.”
Kadiri added that his squad will forget their struggles in the Nigerian Professional Football League if they can win the Federation Cup.
“It was a season we would like to forget easily because we didn’t do well in the league but we can forget all that with our win in the Federation Cup,” he continued.
“It is one step at a time. We need to beat Rivers United first before we can keep our dream alive. It is possible and we must believe.”