– Chibuzor Amos
If there is one team in recent time that has been trying so hard to rival Enyimba in the Nigeria Professional League, and to replicate as much as possible Enyimba’s successes, that team has to be Kano Pillars.
Before the game, Coach Paul Aigbogun expressed his desire to win the game “We want to win every game. We don’t go into games without wanting to win.”
After losing 4 home points to Heartland and Lobi Stars in Umuahia, the pressure was on the team to perform in Kano.
Languishing in the relegation zone – albeit with 4 outstanding games – We needed to do the unthinkable in Kano.
Kano is a place known for weakening the feet and hushing the trumpets of our Elephants. We had not scored in Kano since November 2007 and have not recorded a victory since March 1998. The fans were down and expected the worse. Yours truly couldn’t predict a win.
Rabiu Ali’s 20th free kick put Kano Pillars in the lead and the hosts held on till the break. Enyimba had lost all of their last 4 matches of which they were losing by half time in the League this season. It was looking bleak and the probability of a turnaround was near zero. The last time Enyimba turned around a first half defeat to win in the NPFL was the 2-1 away win at Nembe City in 2014 with two late goals from Mfon Udoh. 🙂
In the 51st minute however, Nzube Anaezemba drew us level with the NPFL’s 300th goal of the season. The goal silenced the Kano crowd. A draw would have been appreciated by the hosts but Ike ThankGod had other plans as he grabbed the winner 8 minutes from regulation time. With 8 minutes added after regulation time, Enyimba held on to the lead with saves from Femi Thomas and a resolute defence.
The victory pulls us out of the relegation zone to 15th position with 17 points from 11 matches, 10 points behind leaders Rangers but with 3 games in hand against Warri Wolves, Wikki Tourists and Abia Warriors. Our Oriental brothers Rangers will be happier with the result because they maintain their 3 points lead at the top. Hopefully Giwa FC is not thrown out of the league.
When you think the Elephants are down, they dig deep and surprise you. Tired from Sousse, unable to train under floodlights, would you have believed they would grab all three points in Uyo? Stalemated by Heartland, saved by Udoji vs Lobi, would you have believed that the team will break an 18 year jinx in Kano immediately after? This is the first time Enyimba has won two consecutive away games in the NPFL since 2014. Champions stuff, no doubt.
This is going to be a very interesting season. Hands up if you still want Mr Aigbogun’s head on a plate?