A seething fan’s view on last year 

Greetings to ye all both near and far. 

It’s Tuesday and the week is off the blocks on its usual fast-forward. Today we have a guest post that I just couldn’t resist. Someone said, the best way to avoid a repeat the mistakes of the past is to constantly remind ourselves of the things we did wrong. Enyimba fan and staunch ThatEnyimbaFan, Iteogu Godwin looks back at the just concluded season once more.

Nothing best describes our season like our away games versus kano Pillars on one hand and at Ikorodu United on the other. From the high of beating Pillars away for the first time in a long while to losing to the whipping boys of the NPFL aptly describes our yoyo season.

A lot has been written and said about the direct and remote causes of our disastrous season and without taking you through the boring route of repeating most of the things already discussed, I’ll try and punch holes in some of the excuses being bandied for arguably Enyimba’s worst outing since the turn of the Millennium.

Some of my friends on this forum are aware of my view concerning the Gaffer (Paul Aigbogun), a gentleman with one of the best credentials you can come across in the NFL. He’s might be a case of being at the right place at the wrong time. The team never really got going from the go and the management didn’t cover themselves in glory when he failed one test\task after another, they kept petting a pampering him when they could have done him and the team a world of good by letting him go. But no, he kept ‘wobbling and fumbling’ till he could do no more.

The team didn’t gel, they kept depending on individual abilities, but there’s a limit to where that can take you. I doff my heart for the players. They dug deep in the season gone by, withstood the best the Continent could offer. Nothing best describes that than the fact that our group opponents went all the way to the final and our games were close affairs that was decided by the minutest of details and superior technical input and organization.

The game that really exposed our gaffer’s tactical savvy or otherwise was the reverse fixture vs Etoile. We won the first leg 3-0, and you would expect fans to go to sleep, rest assured that we are safe. But Aigbogun’s team ‘conspired’ and almost handed over the group tickets to the hosts in a performance that will rank amongst the very top in worst of our continental outings.  But for Afelokhai’s heroics, we would waved bye to the CAF Champions League at the preliminary stages. 

As if that wasn’t enough, we lost our first game in the group stages at home to Zamalek. In all of these, one recurring decimal in our games was poor finishing, the Gaffer kept promising to correct the mistakes till eternity, the more things changed the more they remained the same. I‘m not privy to what was used in motivating the boys financially, but there wasn’t much difference between Ikhanas side and the present set. 

In terms of playing staff, the present squad is even more blessed than Ikhana’s, so how the Mfons, Etors etc suddenly developed leaden feet in front of goal only the gaffer can explain.

On the over flogged issue of playing away from home,the Nigerian soccer history is littered with ample examples where teams triumphed away from home viz Sunshine stars at ijebu Ode a couple of seasons ago, Kano pillars to Kaduna and very recently Niger Tornadoes at Lokoja all turned seemingly hostile ‘home grounds’ into fortress. 

On the Managements failings, being proactive (sending advance parties to away grounds),motivating players and sound travel arrangement wasn’t part of it. Moreover whoever was responsible for the recruitment of players didn’t cover himself in glory. Notable gaffe was the mid season transfer which was unnecessary, looking at the embarrassment of riches in that department.

The management’s inability to tap into the ‘low hanging fruits’ of making extra bucks for the club in a city noted for its enterpreneural drive is one of the twelve wonders of the world.

Having touched some of the immediate and remote causes of our disastrous season (which isn’t exhaustive), I hereby submit that Aigbogun or whosoever was responsible for firing him should be held responsible for our below par outing, there were stages in our in the season that a new gaffer would have brought a new lease of life into the team,but as if a pact was signed not to rock the boat,the status quo was maintained.

It is doubtful if Chelsea would have remained in the EPL if Mourinho wasn’t shown the door when they did. The line between success and failure is very thin, that’s why things like having a good gaffer at the wrong time shouldn’t be overlooked.

The nauseating part of the season gone by was that we may have missed one of our best chances of winning the CAFCL in a long while. There is no doubt that we could have beaten either of the finalist’s on a good day. The fact that the games we played against them were closely fought makes it even more painful. With someone else, maybe just maybe we could have been singing a different tune. And the fact that our Mfon played 4 games less and still came up with the top scorer award will keep us wondering just what might have been. 

Well, so much for crying over spilt milk,let the restructuring, renovation, reinvention start now.

Back tomorrow 

‘EnyimbaEnyi 

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