It is the big one, our last Oriental Derby of the season. Our record in these derbies so far this season is far from perfect. P5 W1 D2 L2. 5 points from a possible 15. So that tells you what should be primary on our minds as we welcome Heartland FC to the Enyimba Stadium this Sunday.
It would have been different if we beat Abia Warriors twice this season, why? Because we know we are capable of doing that. We let Cletus Itodo unleash that strike that won it for Warriors in Aba and we let Chikatara get that last grasp equalizer against Warriors in Umuahia a couple of weeks ago but with Heartland coming to town, only 3 points will do.
Of all the Oriental Clubs, we are highest on the log. Warriors drew Rangers in midweek as we were driving out of Katsina-Ala empty handed. Heartland comprehensively dispatched Nembe City and they will be full of confidence with their 24 shots at goal even though just 6 were on target.
So what should we expect on Sunday? First we have a few injury worries in this one. Ugwu Uwadiegwu who has been our best player for a couple of weeks now is injured. He was subbed 20 minutes into the game against Lobi and that means Ojobo could step in in his place down the left. Boumsong and Nonso Okonkwo are also both injured so we might see Meschak and Bashri continue up front.
I don’t have any worries in defence because this is an Enyimba Side that basically does not concede at home. We went through all of last season without conceding at home and bar the own goal by Chinedu in the Rangers game and the Warriors’s goal, we have not conceded another goal at home. With such impressive record, we can build a good footing for the game against Heartland.
Heartland had it relatively easy against Nembe City so much so that it was not until the 79th minute before they got their first shot on target. Ubido and Ejike really controlled the midfield especially the former and Nembe midfield never really got going.
Haven said enough on the opposition, we must get our scoring boots on and at that score early too. If you have been a football fan for sometime, you can testify of the wonders of early goals. It gives you the best start you need to win a game. It unsettles the opposition and automatically deflates whatever game plan they have. An early goal guarantees you a better platform to get more goals because they will come out in search of an equalizer thereby leaving spaces behind.
I enjoyed our game against Rangers at home because we started better, got two early goals and simply toyed with them for the rest of the game. The more time goes and you have not scored, the more the confidence of the opposition is strengthened.
Regardless of the Katsina-Ala pain, we gotta bag our three points comfortably in this one.
Expected line up: Thomas, Ojobo, Anyanwu, Udorji, Zakka, Rahseed, Nzube, Mfon, Meschak, Abalogu, Bashri.
Let’s knock these pretenders off the park.