Enyimba Player of the Season: Fifth Position 

Greetings everyone. 

The club is on break, absolutely nothing is coming in by way of updates because everyone is resting, refueling their engines and the management is trying to sort the coaching issue and yet the congregation here want a blog. I mean, with everyone on holidays, shouldn’t we be on holidays too? Waking up in the morning and picking brains on what angle to talk about, in these times, isn’t a lot of fun. 

But we have a way out, because we can focus on the nominations we received for the Player of the Season. Quite an impressive amount of votes came in and thank you to everyone who contributed. We had wanted to limit the results to just the top three but with the nominations separated by little margins, we’ll have to accommodate the top five. It also means we have more content to put on the blog for the next couple of days :). 

Like we always say, this blog is not the official voice of the club. It is owned and run by a number of Enyimba fans. Not the management, not the LMC. In other words, our results here, don’t have to tally with whatever other platforms have nominated and announced theirs. Cool? 

In number five is midfielder Dare Ojo. He arrived here with 7% of the total votes. 

Dare was one of our first signings in the ‘summer’ and he was plucked from relegated Kwara United. To be honest, I only saw him play once before we signed him and it was some game – their home game against Sunshine Stars. In that game, I saw first hand, the bullet of his right foot and his ability from range. They did lose that game eventually but the name stuck. Firmly. 

We signed him and he slotted in seamlessly into our midfield. Dare is a player you can describe as being able to effortlessly nick the ball off you (in that defensive midfield position). In those early days this season, you can see how much ground he covered (if you watched carefully). But what was more impressive was that he did it in a tidy manner. There are few defensive midfielders who do their job without giving away a lot of fouls in front of their box. Dare Ojo this season proved one of such.  

Then came the decision that ‘upset the cart’ – the gaffer needed a stop-gap at Right Back and someone offered him Mr Ojo for the purpose. Looking back, we can concede that it was not just a decision that affected the player’s own contribution last season but it also affected our defensive setup. I may not have the stats to back it up but I think that our performance took a dip at some point this season. If you look at our Champions League preliminary games, the team was on song, playing really well. I am inclined to believe that moving Dare to RB was one of the decisions that affected us. 

At RB, he struggled to adjust to the new position. The earlier days playing there were not bad at all but against Zamalek in Egypt, the proverbial wind blew and the backside of the fowl was exposed. That and repeated calls by people who know a thing or two about him conceded that he had to be restored to his best position- central midfield. We did see him return to RB in that debacle at Lokoja where he got a three match ban because an incompetent and an aberration of a referee was being ‘trigger happy’. 

His displays for us truly were further limited by his wedding that happened in the course of the Season and subsequently the arrival of his daughter. But he was handy in that failed semifinal in Ibadan after Uche John had been sent off. 

Dare also did produce the goods in front of goal despite playing at Right Back in those games. First was against Abia Warriors in Port Harcourt and his was the match winner and only goal we scored in that fixture. Few days later be repeated the feat on the bigger stage of the Champions League. That strike was for me, the best an Enyimba player scored all season. 

The fans have voted him in 5th place and when you consider the players he beat to make it into the top five, you’ll agree it wasn’t a bad year for the midfielder. 

Congratulations Dare Ojo. 

We return tomorrow with the next in line according to our poll. 

Have a beautiful Thursday everyone. 

‘EnyimbaEnyi 

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