Tornadoes defender Ogbonnaya raring to go against table-toppers Lobi

By George Akpayen

Niger Tornadoes defender Reuben Ogbonnaya is already looking forward to the resumption of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) after a month-long break due to the World Cup and has set his sight on the matchup with table-topping Lobi Stars.

The former El-Kanemi Warriors and Kano Pillars defender has been one of the mainstay in Tornadoes’ impressive outing this season and he has told npfl.ng that they are now refreshed and ready to have a go at the league leaders.

Tornadoes occupy fifth place and trail Lobi by six points but Ogbonnaya does not believe that there is a gulf in class between the so-called big guns and the minnows in the division this term. He readily points to ruffling the feathers of Kano Pillars and El-Kanemi on their patches as well as defeating current holders Plateau United and edging seven-time champions Rangers.

When both teams met in January in the first meeting at the Aper Aku Stadium, Lobi ran out 3-1 winners. Samad Kadiri helped him to a brace and Ezekiel Mbah got Lobi’s other goal while Ibrahim Babawo’s goal turned out to be only scant consolation.

Now Ogbonnaya is not willing to play for just consolation as he feels this represents the best chance for the Minna club to narrow the gap on the frontrunners with delicate matches to come against Heartland (away), Katsina United (home), Nasarawa United (away) and Rivers United (home).

“I must be honest that it will not be easy against Lobi Stars because they are top of the table and I am sure they want to keep that position as long as they can. We know we have a chance to close the gap on them and that is what we intend to do by God’s grace.

“As a team we play for each other. That is what we will continue to do under the guidance of our coach (Hamza Abara). That is the reason we have got some good results this season against El-Kanemi, Kano Pillars, Rangers and even Plateau United. So we will fancy our chance against Lobi,” Ogbonnaya told npfl.ng.

Ogbonnaya and his Niger Tornadoes team-mates will square up with Lobi at the Bako Kontagora Stadium in Minna when the league resumes on July 18.