Well who saw that coming? Doubt if any of us did. Our CAF Champions League Group Stages first fixture took same complexion as every other fixture we have been involved with this season.
By way of form, Zamalek were the better team having notched up five straight wins. We on the other hand were with just one win in five, three of those defeats. The team was down to bare bones by way of confidence but more than anything else, it has been the worst season in living memory.
As we stepped out of the stadium and made the journey back home, I asked myself. Why should I make such trip, spend the amount of money I did, get drenched and ruin my Christmas shoes, getting home at past 10pm only to be served such a result.
We can search for positives, but sincerely there are none. It’s the same sad tale of a season creaking beyond repair. It’s the tale of a club that broke up a title winning side, refused to renew the contract of a coach who restored the club’s glory, brought in a Legion of players some of which are simply not an upgrade on what we currently have and most of all, a side with no clear identity. That will be the story of Enyimba’s 2015/2016 season.
The goal that decided the tie was a freak goal but thing is, it was the side that should lose that won. The rains made the pitch unplayable sometimes. The ball wouldn’t roll when it should, it sped off when it shouldn’t roll. Chima Akas hit three freekicks straight at the wall. Kester forced their goalkeeper to a brilliant fingertip save in the first half.
Onuigbo tried to chest and volley late in the second half but he spooned it over. Osadiaye had a game to forget, got teed a chance in the first period but he blazed wide. Mfon and Pyagbara huffed and puffed but to no good product. Aside the miscommunication early in the game that caused the goal, Emma Anyanwu and Udoji looked assured for most parts. Dare Ojo too, and Ibenegbu labored tirelessly.
Afelokhai would blame himself for the goal but it was a series of errors that led to it. The substitutions did little to change the tide. Abu rarely did anything different. Etor showed why probably he should have started and Chukwude tried an acrobatic kick that couldn’t beat the Egyptian National team goalkeeper.
It’s difficult to say this but as it stands all hope is not lost. It’s just the first of six group matches that we have lost. We have five more games to play to ensure a semifinal ticket. That of course seems very difficult right now, almost unbelievable as it stands but if you don’t believe you have a chance then why bother competing?
By October we will look back at this season and determine what was the right calls and what wasn’t. The mistakes and the failings and hopefully learn from them.
Let’s also pray that by then we can tell a tale of how we turned a rubbish looking season around.