The heat, the rocky and rugged topography, Welcome to Lokoja!
Two months after Enyimba left this historic city with a Federations Cup Quarter finals ticket, the People’s Elephant is back in the Confluence. Delta side, J.Atete was the opposition that day but this weekend, the League defending Champions are up against Niger Tornadoes, Minna based side that has made Lokoja their home ground this season.
Having gained promotion from the Nigeria National League last season, our hosts this weekend have kept head above water and have banished earlier indications of a relegation fight. They sit mid-table in 13th with 42 points, 7 points less than we have even though they have played a game more than the People’s Elephant.
Nzube Anaezemba and defender Ikeh Thankgod connived and ensured a 2-1 win for Enyimba against Tornadoes in the reverse fixture back in May. It was a game fans would not forget in a hurry seeing the duo had performed the same trick in Kano only a few days earlier. However the midfielder waited till last Wednesday to get his next League goal as his brace subdued Wikki Tourists at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium in Port Harcourt.
The games have been coming thick and fast for the blues from Aba and what a gruesome schedule it has been for Aigbogun’s men. They play their 5th game in 13 days and the gaffer is already mulling over the thought of some new faces. “We will access most people tomorrow so maybe there would be one or two changes to freshen the team up”, says the gaffer. “Maybe not because of injuries but to freshen the team”.
One of such faces could be striker Musa Najare who has made a recovery from an early season injury against Rangers in Enugu. Youngster Alloy Brown is also in the team and is pushing for a start. At left back, Chima Akas will hope to continue with Ugwu Uwadiegwu also injured. The question marks also remain with what the technical crew will think of the captain who has sat out three games in a row now. Udoji’s leadership can come in handy in this tie.
“Now has to be sheer determination from the playing squad”. Aigbogun continues. “Everybody is tired, everybody is carrying one injury or the other. We have played the most games than any other team in such a short space of time. I think it’s all about being determined, if you want to win something you just have to push”.
With the season drifting gradually into the sunset, Aigbogun hopes his boys can give a final push starting tomorrow to ensure a good finish. “I want everyone to give a full effort tomorrow and hopefully we will come with a good result as we end the season well”.
Back in July, Enyimba left it late, getting their winner deep into stoppage time. And for this fixture, a similar tale won’t be amiss.
Kickoff is 4pm.