Enyimba coach Gbenga Ogunbote has stated that he was always confident before the start of the 2016/17 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season that his team will finish in top-three position.
He explained that he had that self-belief that he had assembled a decent playing personnel to achieve that objective and clinch a place to play in one of CAF club competitions, the Confederation Cup.
“From the beginning of the season, I knew the worst result we were going to get was a continental ticket. Even when the team was 13th on the log, I did say Enyimba has unfinished business in the continent. I knew we had the materials to do it. At the beginning, you could see we started slowly. When the team peaked in the middle of the season, it started getting points home and away. So I think, like I said, the continental ticket is a [source of] pride for everybody,” Ogunbote told the Enyimba official website.
The Enyimba trainer is already looking ahead to the new campaign and also took time shed more light on his team plans for the CAF Confederation Cup.
Ogunbote revealed that he will not be targeting “a (wholesale)” change in his playing personnel for next season and especially in the Confederation Cup but agrees the Peoples Elephant need to fortify the squad in order to stand the chance of winning trophies next season.
“The team is there, it’s not going to be a (wholesale) thing, that’s if I still remain in Enyimba. It’s just going to be looking at the areas of need, and filling the gaps to create a team that can stand the test of time, and win laurels in the domestic scene and on the continent as well. You know Enyimba for being a team that always wants to win. So definitely the team needs to be beefed up, but it’s not going to be a wholesale thing,” the former Shooting Stars coach said.
However, Ogunbote revealed that the biggest challenge he faced with the Peoples Elephant during the season was sharing the UJ Esuene Stadium in Calabar with other clubs in the lower tier leagues.
He added that it denied his playing personnel quality time to train at the pitch and that represented a “major challenge” for them as Enyimba have had to play away from their stadium in Aba since the start of 2016 owing to repair work started on the ground.
Ogunbote joined Enyimba at the start of the season and helped the two-time African champions finish third in the NPFL behind champions Plateau United and MFM FC.