The last time we fired 4 past anyone was FC IfeanyiUbah 2 seasons ago. That day, Peter Onyekachi, Andrew Abalogu, Ezekiel Bassey and Razak Aliyu got the goals and we showed the boys from Nnewi who is boss. Then after overstretched and almost endless run of 1-0, 2-0, 2-1 home wins, we are served up with a proper goal fiesta.
This was a thoroughly enjoyed win and when you add the fact that we could not call on our leading goal scorer Mfon Udoh or even his runner up Mustapha Ibrahim, then that adds more cherry and whipped cream on this hammering. Chinonso Okonkwo reminded us all of how silly sending him to Rivers United last year was. Ikechukwu Ibenegbu on the other hand shone like a million stars with his crisp passing in addition to opening the scores with a coolly taken penalty.
You need to hear how it all happened. Here’s the club official match report below.
A strong second half showing, as well as the precocious shooting of striker Chinonso Okonkwo were the pillars on which an eye-catching result was built on Wednesday in Calabar. El Kanemi Warriors, sitting in second place before the kick-off, barely got a kick enroute to a 4-0 hiding.
The absence from the matchday squad of captain Mfon Udoh was the big talking point coming into the midweek encounter, especially with the Peoples’ Elephant struggling somewhat in front of goal this term. A niggling thigh strain was left to heal properly, a bold decision in the second half of the season, when the pressure ramps up and results become even more imperative.
Technical Adviser Gbenga Ogunbote was reluctant to play down the impact of his captain’s absence, remarking, “We will not say we didn’t miss him. Maybe if he had played, we would have scored more,” but even he could not help but be pleased at the ease with which the team went about its business in Udoh’s absence.
It was, however, slow going in the early periods of the first half. Enyimba dominated much of the ball and territory, but would have to be patient for the eventual breakthrough. Left-back Chima Akas came closest to breaking the deadlock, and indeed a lot of the home crowd thought he had, when his drive from distance struck the side-netting.
It was at the close of the half that the floodgates opened. Ikechukwu Ibenegbu’s measured through ball found Andrew Abalogu steaming forward from the back. He squared into the box for Okonkwo, who was then scythed down from behind, leaving no doubt in the referee’s mind as to the verdict. Ibenegbu himself stepped up, and made no mistake, sending George Michael the wrong way for the opener.
The second half was the Okonkwo show. Just two minutes after the restart, the forward controlled on his chest some 25 yards out, turned and fired a rasping volley into the net via the turf.
“We saw the game in the first 45 minutes, that’s the essence of coaching,” said Ogunbote afterward. “So, we needed to say one or two things, so that we could take our chances. We saw the lapses in the defence, and we were able to take advantage of it. That was what resulted in the second half.”
It pretty much killed whatever designs the visitors had on making a play for a result in the second period. It was the turn of Ibrahim Mustapha to get a couple of fine chances, but he proved rather less clinical: twice unable to turn in the rebound from Michael’s save off a Joseph Osadiaye volley, and then only redirecting Okonkwo’s knockdown in the six-yard box over the top.
Okonkwo got his second, and the game’s third, on the hour mark. His deep run caught the El Kanemi defence napping; one-on-one with Michael though, his finish was cool and assured, passed into the bottom corner for 3-0.
There were further spurned opportunities to increase the tally, as well as to notch Enyimba’s first hattrick of the season for Okonkwo, who was improbably making his very first league appearance of the season.
“I had many more opportunities to make it a hattrick, but I could not execute them. Still, I’m very happy I scored two, and I look forward to the next game to do more,” he said after the game.
Four minutes from the end though, there was the icing on the cake. Not to be outdone, Stephen Chukwude hit a long-range effort of his own, the bounce of which totally outfoxed Michael in the El Kanemi goal.
There was, however, a brief flashpoint in the second half, as Efe Yarhere was sent off for an elbow on Okonkwo in the 76th minute.
Enyimba 4 (Ikechukwu Ibenegbu 45+3’, Chinonso Okonkwo 47’, 60’, Stephen Chukwude 86’) 4-0 El Kanemi Warriors
Starting XI: Theophilus Afelokhai, Andrew Abalogu, Nelson Ogbonnaya, Isiaka Oladuntoye, Chima Akas, Dare Ojo, Ikechukwu Ibenegbu (Olufemi Oladapo 89’), Joseph Osadiaye (Eric Frimpong 83’), Stanley Dimgba, Chinonso Okonkwo, Ibrahim Mustapha (Stephen Chukwude 64’)
I’ll be back tomorrow,