Giwa FC did what few sides will do this season- getting a point in Aba against Enyimba FC. Here are three things from the game.
Winning the crucial 90 minutes:
For the second time this season, Enyimba failed to pick all three points at home and one can say that the People’s Elephants underrated the ‘Elephants’ from Jos. Prior to the game, the Enyimba Secretary said to the visitors; “Give us a good game today”, had he known what was coming, he might have said something different. The underdogs gave the home team a good game and you had the feeling that even if the game had gone on for the next three hours, Enyimba still wouldn’t have scored.
Enyimba had chances but in truth, none was really clear cut as had been seen in the past. They were uncharacteristically lethargic, second to loose balls in the midfield and strikers Mfon Udoh and Bashri Abdulrahman needed to drop into the midfield often to get balls. Left Back Uwadiegwu Ugwu abandoned his defensive duties often during the game in a bid to get the balls into the vital area up front and none of Nnoke Daniel’s team mates spotted him unmarked in the first period else it could have been different story for Enyimba.
To say that they felt they had won on paper first before the referee’s whistle could not be truer. The urgency was missing and the visitors would admit that they expected a better game from Enyimba. Regardless of the opposition, your focus and commitment must be exerted fully else you are in danger of dropping points. This shocker should serve as a warning note to Enyimba for future games and some encouragement to future visitors; pedigree aside, within the 90 minutes, anything is possible.
A Tale of two coaches
Kadiri Ihkana was the brains behind Enyimba’s slip and it is not really much of a surprise because in the 2003/2004 season, he was lifting the CAF Champions League title with Enyimba. In other words, he knows the Aba side and the terrain very well. No doubt, his Giwa side faced none of the players he coached during his stay but Enyimba is not just a group of players, Enyimba is a tradition, a spirit that has through the years stood in the forefront of football in the Nigerian Premier League. His success with Enyimba gave him a cast iron place in the club’s history.
On the opposite dugout is a manager trying to convince his employers that he is good enough for the job. Zachary Baraje has not had a smooth ride as Enyimba’s handler. He was suspended early in the season for poor performances and one wonders how much time he will be given to turn things around. After the game, there was a shortage of kind words for him and a lot of fans were very vocal with their call for his head. Managing one of the biggest clubs in Africa is no small feat but Baraje can look at his opposite number and be inspired to know that what lies ahead of him should he succeed.
Anaemeka stands tall for Giwa:
Ifeanyi Anaemeka put in a man of the match performance ensuring his side kept a clean sheet against Enyimba International in Aba. Very few teams come to Aba and repel the Enyimba attacks but it was a different story with the giant Center half. He stuck on Sibi Gwar all game; denying him any freedom to express himself. When Gwar swapped places with Mfon Udoh, a happy Anaemeka was grateful for a lesser built opponent and made sure his imposing figure stood in the way for any Enyimba attacks coming from the former Akwa United striker.
All the balls into the area were his and when a chance fell to Raphael Boumsong late in the game, the striker nodded over under pressure from Anaemeka. After the game Ojo Olorunleke embraced his number 15 Jersey for a job well done. It was a collective effort no doubt but Anaemeka Ifeanyi led the very heroic display.