Good morning All,
Yesterday on the blog, we announced that the team has left Aba enroute Ijebu Ode for the Gold Cup Tournament involving some the League’s heavyweights. Kano Pillars, Wikki Tourists, MFM, Lobi Stars and Sunshine Stars are some of the teams that will be a part of the ten day tournament and make no mistakes about it, Grade A friendly matches in this terrain don’t come milder than these.
From the official email threads, it appears there are indeed ten teams in the competition. They include Enyimba, Kano Pillars, Lobi Stars, FC Ebedei, Remo Stars, MFM, Crown FC, Sunshine Stars, Wikki Tourists and Niger Tornadoes. All ten teams have been grouped into two parts with Pillars atop Group A and Enyimba Group B. I’ve not seen the schedules but there’s no doubt it would be keenly contested.
I do have my concerns and indeed reservations about us honoring this event. I guess this is one of those blog posts where I voice a disagreement with a path the new gaffer has chosen. I do hope this is the only time we would disagree on an issue, although everything within me tells me that’s a big deceit I’m dishing myself.
My sources say the club hierarchy would have wanted a private pre-season camping in say Calabar and friendlies arranged. However the gaffer wanted differently. He felt going for this Gold Cup tournament would get his team the competitiveness it needs. It would also help him make up his mind on the players he wants to prosecute the season with. It’s surprising because only a few days ago he said in an interview with Tony Ademodi that no decision was made as yet. Perhaps he slept over the options and made his decision.
Now here are my concerns as far as honoring this pre-season tournament is concerned. Everyone knows where Enyimba currently is. We had a terrible season last year and one of the many things some of us in the media has been up against is the negative air currently around the club. Last season was disappointing. Not many could see any good in that year: everyone just wanted us to be over and done with it.
Now we’ve got a new gaffer, new players on board with the older ones gone, you can say of a truth, there has been changes at the club but have we eliminated the bad air around the club? By that I mean, will fans treat any failure with the club as a once off or will they continue with the curses and insults from last year? Fans are itching for some fresh air, some good feeling about the club, the restoration of the club’s lost past glory and good results and performances.
Ogunbote will get us playing well no doubt. He will turn us into world beaters again. We’ve got decent new players but this may not be instant or overnight. I believe it is going to be a gradual rebuilding. So why hurry to go for a tournament where fans would only be eager to know what the scores of our games were?Imagine this new team failing to win this tournament or performing below par, everyone will go – “I told you, Enyimba is finished”.
This team has barely worked together. It’s a new team, players rarely know each other and players have yet to strike any form of understanding within themselves. And here you are, out there in a tournament against teams who have not only been together for sometime, would relish the chance to brag to their fans that they also beat Enyimba. I don’t think the pressure that will come on the manager if this team doesn’t do well here, could not have been unavoided.
Beyond all that, there’s also the psychological impact a bad tournament will have on the players. A bad outing will dampen the morale of this side and we know how important confidence is in football. I think a closed door camp would have offered something different. You need the team to believe in itself and not get into the new season judged by performances of last season and the results of a pre-season tournament where absolutely nothing was at stake.
Those in the club’s PR and media department can as well start sharpening their excuses and damage control tools cos it doesn’t feel like a tasty result will come of this tournament.
Prove me wrong, I’ll gladly eat the humble pie.