New Enyimba stadium, a tiny little bit of hope. 

Good morning everyone, 

Somebody said, “it’s the hope that kills you”! That nonetheless, we come bearing gifts of hope. 

The team is already in Katsina and ready to battle for three points, yes, three vital points as we continue on our quest for our first win this season, a win which has eluded us due to an Ezekiel Mba penalty in Makurdi and an Ebele Obi masterclass in Calabar. (Is it just me or do you also notice that both players share the same first letter of their first name and also same number of letters in their second names). The Mohammed Dikko stadium can gift us what we expect if our team work towards it. Hopefully, our fairly robust squad can take that. 

The actual ray of light we want to focus on today is our return to our traditional stomping ground, The Enyimba International Stadium in Aba. There were pictures of the contractor, responsible for laying the playing turf, and the governor which the former came out to say that the variations have been sorted out, also going further to give a definite timeline climax. This is the first time we are getting an actual return date and we hope it will be the last.

It is true that all parties involved with the stadium, i.e. the club, the fans and the host city, have only recorded losses since we went nomadic. Anyone who feels otherwise can help me name the gains.

Yes, we finished in 3rd place last season, dropping only 4 points in Calabar but their was no revenue generated instead games came at exorbitant costs. Cost which might have been averted or even reversed with tickets, leveraging on the sold out crowd at our home games. That aside, the Enyimba feeling is no longer at the club. I can’t remember when last an Enyimba player heard the roar of the fans at home games. This spurs players on and gives any team the 12th man home advantage. 

Enyimba fans are gradually getting far away from the club. We find it difficult to properly connect with the club we identify with. Surfing the internet for our results from home games and the privileged few going through the dangers of travelling on the ever awesome Nigerian roads albeit at night just to see our darling team play a “home” game. In all theses, we still hope for a return.

I remember a typical matchday in Aba. It is the talk of the town. Viewing centres are scanty and even the few there still talk about the game. You can see the joy and anticipation written all around the city. The city goes quiet between the hours of 4 and 6 in the evening only to come alive again at the final whistle. This is one of the magical features of the Aba city but we can only hope for a return.

We are still looking forward to that day when we will see our team walk out from the dressing room and play a competitive game in front of us in Aba. We believe that this glimmer of hope will be the end of the dark tunnel of squatting in neighbouring cities.

Congratulations to our CHAN Eagles for their first victory yesterday. There is all to fight for. We hope you fly our flags high enough for glory.

Back tomorrow!

‘EnyimbaEnyi 

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Enyimba: Have we become victims of our own success? 

Good morning Everyone. 

We are in Kastina. We play them this weekend at that ground where Kano Pillars weren’t allowed to leave with the three points they believed they earned on Match Day One. Twice in six minutes, a penalty happened and Pillars could only manage a point. An away point? Not so bad. Well, that’s Pillars and Katsina but on the basis of that, I’ll like to share a few thoughts. 

This blog has at many times cried that we learn to do better on our away trips. We’ve fallen behind to late penalty calls, stupid referee decisions or in certain cases, outright superb football and finishing by our opponents on the day. It’s been frustrating when other teams post brilliant away results. Frustrating, annoying and the occasional “why can’t we be like them?” wails. 

As I pondered, a question hit me – have we become victims of our own success? Has our pedigree as the most successful clubside in the country become our own nemesis? I’m beginning to think that perhaps that really is the case. Let me explain. Before I do, I’ll like to say, I’m not creating excuses for anyone before they have a chance to make a case for themselves. 

Everyone knows Enyimba is the biggest club in the country and the suits in our boardroom aren’t the most liked persons in the land. Whenever Enyimba is the next game in the horizon, teams prepare for our visit quite well. It is the biggest game of the season for most teams so- when Enyimba is coming to town, everyone has to put in more effort to ensue they get one over us. 

This is a contrast to when a small team is expecting another small team for a game. They just trudge on and along with the trainings and preparations and could even write off this opponent till suddenly the away smaller team stun the hosts on the MatchDay – especially if they had managed a good defensive and time wasting ploy. 

Call it my hypothesis but I think this is the case most times. Add that of course to our one dimensional and easily discernible formation. It becomes easier to put us in the backfoot while peppering our goal. We on the other hand are stunned because these guys we had expected to roll over and receive our spanking are now all over us. 

Maybe how big we are is producing extra motivation to our would be opponents on their preparations for our visits. Having said that, I still think we have to be doing better away from home. 
Back tomorrow, 

‘EnyimbaEnyi

Forget the Oriental Derby, let’s talk something more exciting 

Good day Good people, great nation. 

Seeing that you got two blogs yesterday, two blogs that you didn’t deserve, I’m wondering if you should get a blog today. Should you? Maybe not. Or Maybe I’ll let my “mind of Christ” come to the fore. Not like I’ve got another mind that takes over at other times but you know what? Don’t worry about it. You’ll know soon enough if you mess with my kids. 

I’ll like to start up with this-  If you are boss who pays other humans salaries, please be honest with them and always salaries. If you’re in a position of power, don’t play God. Always be nice to people, please. Not just because it’s the right thing to do but you have kids, and these kids would grow up. Someday they will be at the mercy of others. “Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy”. Please, let’s not be instruments of pain to others. Please. 

I have an apology to make. Yesterday’s result got me upset and in that blog I accused the Enyimba Media of not doing their work well. I was wrong and I am sorry. The lineups did have an error – Franco didn’t start, Udeagha did. So it got all confusing for some of us taking stats and taking note of the goings on at the game. But it would be unfair and unjust to slate the Enyimba media just because of that. I learnt it was an error from the guys who write team sheets. 

To be honest, Enyimba has the best media personnel with regards to fan engagement. The description and reporting of live events by the club is second to none all over the country. We can fault the club for leaving the website down for several months, we can fault the club for denying us pictures and videos but it’s not the fault of the personnel behind those social media platforms. Our club needs to let go of their archaic ways of handling their media and some other business. 

Enyimba does not have one top quality HD video camera. The club’s match recordings are done from one camera point. That is a shame. But think about this. What if the club buys top quality video equipment and have them in place for home games (for now) and stream these matches online. Have fans pay a minimum of maybe N500 (and $5 for those abroad) a month to watch Enyimba’s home games. We have fans all over world. We can protect our fanbase, keeping them entertained yet making money at the same time. 

Let’s say you’d have 5000 people sign up. (Don’t think it’s impossible, we have a combined social media following of almost 80,000, so 5000 is less than one ninth of that number). 5000 x 500 = 2. 5 million Naira every month. That’s 25 million Naira income revenue generated annually from Enyimba TV subscriptions. I multiplied by ten months. That is you creating a sponsor for yourself and trust me, there are tones of other ideas. 

Look at the things we claim we cannot do because of a lack of money. If we love this club as much as we assume we do, we can roll in millions for this club. We just have to stop doing little things. If small clubs would have players on their books they don’t own, we can’t be Nigeria’s biggest and most successful clubs yet compete with them in mediocrity when we have the capability to become Nigeria’s biggest producer of top quality footballers. Today, football talents are in high demand all over the globe. 

The reason why we are underdeveloped as a Continent is because we have refused to dare to try out new ideas. If you can’t create fresh ideas, why not start by copying others? People in positions of power are never there forever. Someday some new person will come on board and put new ideas to work and everyone will see how backward things were during your regime. Remedy? Open your heart and embrace change. Changes that will put your name on the bright and shining lights. 

I didn’t plan a lengthy post. I’m sorry but y’all asked me to blog right? Deal with it. 

Back tomorrow guys, 

‘EnyimbaEnyi

Enyimba 0-0 Heartland: Nobody does their job and Bogey team leave with a point

We won the title three seasons ago. We also last beat Heartland three seasons ago. If that doesn’t attempt to encourage you at the back of this loss that feels every way like a defeat, then I’m not sure anything else can. We had 15 shots of which 10 of them were on target, Heartland had one. It didn’t matter anyway because after the first two games of the season, we sit nicely with them on the table with just two points. 

It does remind me of that draw in Umuahia the season Heartland got relegated. We threw everything we could at them and just in case you’re about to forget, after that game Aigbogun 1.0 sanctioned the purchase of Ifeanyi Onuigbo from the Owerri side. I think that game ended 1-1 and Femi Thomas made Onuigbo look like Robert Lewandoski. Memories refreshed yet? Right, that’s the idea. 

It’s very difficult to write an opinion following such performance. It’s just like watching the CHAN Eagles hit the woodwork thrice and miss a dozen of chances against Rwanda. Do you shrug it off and say we were unlucky or do you blame the strikers for a poor finishing? Heartland clearly brought along their Solo Mourinho bus and defended to perfection. And thanks to Ebele Obi too for being Ebele Obi. 

Will this have been a different result if this game was played in Aba? It hard to say because I’ve equally seen Heartland get a draw off us in Aba. Compare our recent head to heads, Heartland no doubt IS our bogey team. Of all the South Eastern teams, they are the one team we are unable to just figured out how to deal with. The last time we beat them 2-0 in Aba, our title winning season, we benefited from some queer calls. 

The stakes are rocket high for us this term and that’s why we cannot afford to hide behind any shoddy officiating on our travels. Say what you will but Plateau United has won two in two. Lobi has beaten Rangers in Enugu and Tornadoes equally hit three away points last weekend in Illorin.  

By way of positives, this result is probably a wake up we need. Getting a point in Lobi was cheered but we cannot afford to rest on our laurels. In the words of Enyimba Legend Chinedu Udoji, every game must be viewed as a cup final. The hunger to win must be bubbling to the surface in every game. That my friends is the least acceptable. Especially if we want to make something good of ourselves, trophywise that is. 

Finally, I’ll award an F to the Enyimba media team for giving out a fake team list for this game. It was totally and completely horrible and that’s unlike you guys. What was everyone fed in camp today? Because as on the pitch, everyone just failed to do what they usually are so good at doing. 

That’s all. Hopefully we’d have the post match reactions in the next blog. 

‘EnyimbaEnyi 

Oriental derby preview: Enyimba entertain Heartland 

Good morning brethren, 

Today’s fixture is one with lots of history. Aside the fact that we all know that Enyimba was hewn out of Iwuanyanwu National, this is one fixture tags all through the years have not been void of action both off and on the pitch. Today shouldn’t be an exception, this should be a cracker.

Aside the expected, if we take into cognisance the achievements of last season from us and our opponents. We finished third, missing out on champions league places almost on the last day, while our visitors were runaway leaders of the southern conference in the lower division, heralding their comeback in style- two decent sides. 
Matchday 1 saw them fall to breakdown a Henry Ayodele masterclass in goal meaning they could only afford an opening day draw at home. While for us, we had an Ezekiel Mba penalty, midway through the second half, deny us our first victory on the road against a Lobi since 2005.

By way of team news, Heartland will be hoping for a return to full fitness of their loyal captain, Julius Ubido, who ended their last match with an icepack on the elbow, which made him sit out the dying seconds to treatment. But in his absence, there surely are a thousand and seventy two players they can always ring up. In his stead.

Yes, we’ve got five of our best legs in Morocco (Every player who dons the club crest on his chest becomes one of the best legs automatically) plus our able captain, Mfon Udoh and talismanic Ibenegbu who are likely to sit out the game as they continue their return to fitness but there has been promises from our new boys, most evidently as they combined to gift us our first goal of the season and in fantastic form too, as a reminder that every one at the club knows what is at stake. Ghanian international, Dauda will continue to try and hold down his spot as the number 1 as his fiercest rivals are on international duty.

This should be a good game. We believe that Heartland’s quest for their first victory since they walked out on Plateau United in Jos 2 seasons ago will continue as Aigbogun 2.0 knows he needs to win this game for points, pride and position.

Remember guys no dropping points at home. 

Back tomorrow, 

‘EnyimbaEnyi 

CHAN result sheds light on our league and early Heartland thoughts 

Good day everyone, 

This will be brief. Please, thanks. 

Last night, the CHAN eagles started their quest for continental glory with a barren draw. A draw which might be seen as a harsh result if statistics are taken into consideration.

I am still wondering how we got 20 shots but kept just managed to find a meagre 4 on target and these 4 where as weak as they could be. Of the 5 Enyimba players in Morocco, Ezenwa, who was hardly tested, started as the team’s captain and Onolapo was only a substitute. 

The CHAN Eagles may have shown why we don’t see many goals in our league. There were many chances, tho some were unlucky to end up on the upright, but when it mattered most, we were either too cautious not to miss or too comfortable to score. 

Then there were also sloppy passes, some were just short, some were misdirected and others were misunderstood by the recipient. I think we need to work on our link play. Libya may not be as lenient. Our league is an improving one and if we work harder on our weaknesses, we can rub shoulders with the biggest names in Africa.

We play Heartland tomorrow in Calabar and I think it is time we show them that everywhere can be home to Enyimba, everywhere including Owerri. They may not enjoy their welcome but we have no choice because we need to start winning. Aigbogun 2.0 knows that too.

We’ll be back tomorrow with more on the Oriental Derby outside the Orient.
‘EnyimbaEnyi

Lobi 1-1 Enyimba: A point from Makurdi is good point

Good morning Everyone, 

MatchDay 1 and we are unbeaten. Our trip to Lobi posted a result similar to what we got in that title winning season. When a certain debutant, Idris Aloma drew first blood for us against Lobi. They pulled one back and it was from the spot. It was similar script yesterday. Debutant, Chinedu Udeagha tapped home Wasiu Alalade’s brilliant run. Lobi would respond from the spot and Aigbogun 2.0 stays unbeaten. 

It was interesting to see five players handed debuts for us. Yinka Onaolapo, Benjamin Francis, Farouk Mohammed, Wasiu Alalade and Chinedu Udeagha all made their bows for us and they all did get into the thick of it. Surprisingly, Stephen Chukwude started ahead of Chinonso Okonkwo in attack while Ugochukwu Leonard also only featured in the second half. 

Not much could be made out of the performance except of course that tinge of disappointment that we really did have Lobi for the taking. When you consider that teams like Plateau and Niger Tornadoes but won at Lafia and Illorin respectively, you’d think that we and Kano Pillars (on Saturday) deserved more. But someone quickly reminded me that we have returned from there barren for two seasons in a row. So maybe a draw isn’t such a bad thing. 

The challenge with this season is maximizing our squad because the games would come thick and fast. And when the Continental duels start, it gets even worse. For instance, we have Heartland the day after tomorrow. How do you keep your best legs fresh and nicely soaked in cotton wool? Home games must all be won, all of them. We can’t afford any slips, no not at home. 

In other news, our former players started their season on fire as well. Kelly Kester scored for Akwa United in their 2-0 mauling of Rangers. Efrimpong was on song for Niger Tornadoes in Illorin and Chinedu Ohanachom who wasn’t good enough for us – according to Ogunbote scored as well for Yobe Stars. Think about the fact that these guys each rarely scored any goals for us especially last term. Life. Smh. 

But it doesn’t matter- we wish them a good soujorn in their respective clubs. While we firmly fix our focus on what’s right infront of us. Heartland on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Heartland failed to beat Sunshine in Owerri. Hope they keep misfiring till Thursday after we’ve beaten them. I heard they’ve signed a partnership with Imo Air who would take them to away venues. If it were me though, on the basis of their home draw with Sunshine, they’ll have to trek to Calabar. 

I kid, I kid, 

Have a great week everyone. 

Back tomorrow,

‘EnyimbaEnyi 

In Makurdi to play Lobi and we mean business 

Good morning

Finally, the wait is over! The NPFL got started as there was a game yesterday evening. 4 of our former players were on parade for a certain side and one even captained them. 9 more games will go on today, ours and 8 others. For us, it is a late lunch date with Lobi Stars.

After our post yesterday, we got to know that Franco has returned to camp and will be with the team for this season which is nothing but excellent news. You want all the better legs out there for our title challenge this season. His contributions to the team last season was immense and we surely would be s stronger team with him in the side.

We also got to hear from the gaffer yesterday via the pre game chat dispersed by the Enyimba media team. Our expectations are high and we are confident that Aigbogun 2.0 would be a very good upgrade on previous versions. Kudos to the Enyimba Media team for making that work. Such things help we fans get closer to our darling club as information, they say, is power. 

Aigbogun 2.0 pointed out that Lobi might not be truly known tactics wise but he knows most their players and can decipher how they might behave. The best part of the interview was when he said that every game will be treated the same way. We play the Enyimba both at home and away from home. That’s exactly how a good side approach games.

We lost this fixture last season but Lobi don’t have their prolific dangerman who helped them win it last season in the mould of Anthony Okpotu. We also have 5 players with him in Morocco and captain Mfon Udoh might not feature as he is making his comeback from injury.
Im curious to see the guys who lineup for us today. It should be a strong squad but a few injury concerns mean we may do without a few familiar names. Hopefully we will finally break our Aper Aku stadium hoodoo and kick off our season with a well deserved victory!

We also wish the CHAN Eagles luck. Congratulations to the Falconets, an awesome goal from Rasheedat Ajibade, helped them beat the South African female U20 side 2-0 yesterday.

We’ll be back tomorrow and we hope their will be reasons to be happy.

‘EnyimbaEnyi

New Season Countdown: Our home for this year and a top midfielder gone 

Good morning Guys, it’s a quick quick post. 

The league returns tomorrow, for us that is. I learnt the Northern Derby between Katsina United and Kano Pillars would be played today. So officially we are stepping into the new season today. And I’m thinking about it- while you can accuse our League of everything negative as you possibly can, you simply can’t ignore the excitement and genuine love we have for our clubs. 

For us at the Enyimba, home games will be in Calabar, where we played all of last season. There was some report by an ignorant vanguard journalist who doesn’t even know the name of the Enyimba club chairman. Ignorant folks who claim to be journalists yet they make such silly errors. 

Look guys I don’t really care what titles anyone is ascribed to, if you can’t be deligent enough to get your facts right, then quietly accept it when people squash your stories or never take you serious. This is a country where majority of the Sports OAPs can’t name eleven players that play in the League. It’s a real shame and yea I know I digress. 

We’ll play our home games in Calabar but I can’t say same for our Continental fixtures. It could be Port Harcourt or Enugu as I believe they are the two closer centers – and Uyo if you want to add that. How we must do our best to return home ASAP. I guess we would just watch and see things open up but I pray whatever things are holding up the Aba stadium get fixed soon. It’s been two years now guys. 

The other sad news is the situation with last season’s signing Togolese midfielder Franco. We did cry for him to be given a run-in in the side and when we eventually did, his quality shone to the fore. Well, we did learn he only signed a short term contract last year and an inability to finalize that means he couldn’t be signed for permanent with us. Franco has left the club and believe it or not, it is a huge blow to us. 

We may never know what transpired with his contract negotiations but our administrators we’d really need to do better with player handling. It is difficult at times, I know, tying up an unknown player or any player at that to a long term deal. Compare what happened with Bashir to what happened with Obiozor. It’s always a risk and it’s pitiful when we don’t end up making the right call. 

Finally for today, I did go head to head with the predictor on the leagues Match Day One fixtures. You can find my predictions here and regardless of how I perform there, I think you should keep an eye on that website for your news both sports related and otherwise. 

That’s all I can serve up today, one more sleep and action resumes for us. 

Back tomorrow, 

‘EnyimbaEnyi 

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