Aiteo Cup: Why I substituted our keeper when we were losing- Odunbote

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Enugu Rangers coach, Gbenga Odunbote has revealed why he substituted goal keeper, Femi Thomas while expressing his delight at winning the Aiteo Cup on penalties on Wednesday.

The Flying Antelopes staged a thrilling comeback from three goals down to beat Kano Pillars on penalties and win their first Nigerian Cup since 1983 on Wednesday.

Speaking with after the historic comeback, Odubote said it was surprising to the technical team how his team easily conceded the goals through their carelessness.

“We had careless moments and there is nothing we can do. It happens in football, he said.

He further stated that he substituted goal keeper, Femi Thomas because he had switched off mentally from the game.

“The first keeper is a great goalkeeper. He switched off after conceding the first two goals”.

“I was thinking as we were two goals down, we could manage it so we could bring in field players to get our goals. But when I realised he was off mentally, I had to take him off. He even told ‘coach, I have to come out, he said.

Odunbote praised Kelvin Itoya for leading the comeback with his screamer and making his impact felt after coming on as a substitute.

“Itoya is a joker and for obvious reasons I bring him in games and has worked for me, he noted.

He decried the manner at which his team in recent past have always had to win games in the hard.

“I don’t like it either. But when mistakes are made, you pay dearly for it. And once you pay dearly for it, you have to work harder, he concluded.

Rangers will represent Nigeria in next year’s CAF Confederation Cup after claiming their sixth Nigerian Cup title in total, pocketing a cash prize of 25 million Naira ($69,000).


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