Shocking Death of Coach Ogbeide; Spectre of Relegation Overshadows Bendel Insurance Home Win over Sunshine Stars

By Daily Sports on May 21, 2019

Views: 440

Bendel Insurance FC of Benin played their last home match of the 2018/19 NPFL season against Sunshine Stars of Akure at the Uniben Sports Complex on Monday, May 20, and two things clearly dominated the minds of the supporters of the club before, during and after the game.

Bright and sunny weather hovered around the complex prior to kick off of a must-win match for Insurance, in order for them to stand any chance of avoiding relegation, but dark clouds of grief struck the club’s supporters trickling in to the main bowl as news filtered in that a popular son-of-the-soil Solomon Ogbeide, coach of Markurdi-based Lobi Stars FC of the NPFL, had slumped and died.

At the VIP section from where I watched the game, the pervading sombre mood of spectators watching and chatting in hushed tones of shock mixed with weighty concerns on the proceedings in the pitch as Insurance players filed out for battle against Sunshine.

Insurance scored a controversial early goal in the second minute of the game to assuage nerves at the complex when a goalmouth scramble resulted in a kick that the referee deemed to have crossed the line after a Sunshine defender frantically cleared.

The visitors were furious with the decision. They raced to the referee in desperate appeal and then to their dugout. The match was half up for some minutes as the Sunshine players refused to continue the game.

The Akure-based side later got back into the pitch but the remaining minutes of the match was a better-forgotten dull affair, as Insurance won by that solitary goal.

The running theme among Insurance fans this season has been the stodgy kick and follow football served up by the players in all their home games which led to the club drawing many home games and dropping precious points as a result.

Moments after the end of the game, Sunshine Stars players and officials who have relegation fears as well, burst into elation as news came in that results in some other venues favored their aspirations to remain in the NPFL.

Ironically and in contrast, the victorious Insurance fans, officials and players were glum in the end when news came through that Rangers had scored a late goal against visiting Rivers United in Enugu to snatch a 1-0 win. The Insurance worry now is that they have to go to Port Harcourt on Sunday in the last league match of the season needing to at least avoid a defeat against Rivers United to beat the dreaded drop.

With Rivers United now needing a win themselves to avoid relegation, Insurance know all too well that it is a herculean task to not lose away in the Nigerian league especially to a desperate home team.

In truth, Insurance never had a proper preseason to prepare for the NPFL as they moved straight from the Super 4 qualifier from 1st division to the NPFL. The short period of time gave the coaches little time to fashion out a team that could really challenge for the NPFL.

Some top class friendlies before the start of the season could have revealed some of the noticeable flaws this season and would have afforded the coaches and management of the team the opportunity of making corrections.

The fans of Bendel fear now that the club is heading back to where they had been in a decade; the second tier of Nigerian club football.

Meanwhile tributes have been pouring in for the late Lobi Stars Coach Solomon Ogbeide. Ogbeide hailed from Edo State where he was very respected as a seasoned and well-accomplished coach.

Lobi Stars and Super Eagles-capped left back Ebube Duru took to Facebook to mourn the man that signed him for Lobi.

Duru wrote: “You brought me into the league even when nobody believed in me..myheart is so heavy...can’t stop crying. Rest in peace legend Solomon Ogbeide.God knows best.”

Team Manager of Rangers FC Amobi Ezeaku wrote on his Facebook page: “So sad to hear of your we were together last week. What is life? Rest in peace big coach.”

Ogbeide is suspected to have died of high blood pressure.


•Photo shows late Lobi Stars Coach Solomon Ogbeide

Source Daily Sports

Posted May 21, 2019


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