Rangers International head coach, Gbenga Ogunbote, insists the club must put up a brave performance to beat Algerian side, Union Sportive Medinat Bel Abbes (USMBA) in their CAF Confederation Cup First Round fixture, reports Completesportsnigeria.com.
The Flying Antelopes will host the Algerians in the first leg clash on Sunday at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu with the reverse fixture to come up a week later in Algiers.
Nigerian clubs have in the past struggled against North African opposition on the continent and Ogunbote says his team must show sterner stuff against USMBA if they want to progress further in the competition.
“Though many Nigerians teams have not done well against North African teams recently, I believe there’s always a turnaround in life,” Ogunbote who lost narrowly to Club Africain of Tunisia at the semi-final stage of the 2011 CAF Confederation Cup during his spell in charge of Sunshine Stars of Akure told CAFonline.com.
“We need to work harder in order to get very far in this competition; we shall do our best and make sure that they (USMBA) do not stop us at this stage.”
The Coal City club have struggled to make an impact in their four previous appearance in the CAF Confederation Cup and lost out to Zambian club, Zesco United in the play-off round last year.
Ogunbote is however adamant they have what it takes to brace the odds this time around.
“We are aware of the efforts put into the team before we secured the qualification to play in this competition but this is yet to be our dream team. All the same, the resilience and never-say-die attitude of the players; and above all, the grace of God have taken us to this stage,”he added.
“My last record in this same competition was reaching the semi-finals with Sunshine of Akure. I will be happy if I can go a better further with Rangers and I’m not just thinking but that is my prayers.
“Football is a team sport and I can’t begin to single out a single player. My understanding of the game is that we are a team and team means ‘together everyone achieve much’.
“So, our collective contribution as a team is very important if we want to go far in this competition.”
The aggregate winner over the two legs will progress to the group stage of the competition.
By Adeboye Amosu