“Corner-kick”: What qualifies a player as club Legend?

It is so difficult to define what exactly a legend is. It is one of the most overused terms in sports, and is so open to interpretation in a field like football where so much depends on subjectivity.

For instance, we can all agree that, to be a legend, one has to have been a great player. Yet, that is subjective, especially when evaluating different positions. A great striker is easy enough to decide: just look at his goals tally, right? And yet, that does not take into account what his role is in the team—some strikers exist to make space for others rather than to score themselves. If he is performing his assigned function excellently, then he is a great player.

However, to the fan who is not in a position to know what his assigned function from the coach is would not be able to appreciate it. See how complex it can get?

Some players are great, but we feel no real connection to them emotionally, and so we are reluctant to call them legends, especially at club level. Some are not so great, but will regularly beat their chest and kiss the badge and have us throwing roses at them. See?

I happened upon an interesting discussion on Twitter, as a fan insisted that Mfon Udoh is not an Enyimba legend, while Emeka Nwanna is. It was a very enriching discussion, as it got me thinking. It is an interesting example.

Mfon Udoh is, to this day, the highest scoring league player in a single season of Nigerian football. His record of 23, set three seasons ago, stands to this day. He also delivered a record seventh league title for Enyimba, and if that seems like a light thing, this came after a three-year period in which the league was monopolized by Kano Pillars.

That makes him, demonstrably, an Enyimba legend outright.

Emeka Nwanna is, as well, worthy to enter the discussion. The first-ever player in the league to be sold for a million Naira, he was a crucial part of Nigeria’s first-ever CAF Champions League triumph, lifting the coveted trophy with Enyimba in 2003. That also makes him, demonstrably, an Enyimba legend.

Both won laurels with the club, both changed the game in the local scene. So do we have our criteria then?

Not exactly. If this is what counts, then that would mean smaller teams would have no legends. So perhaps we need to tweak that, and accept that success is relative. For some, it is winning, for others, it might be something else.

No disrespect to him at all, but while Femi Thomas also won the league with Mfon Udoh at Enyimba, he cannot be considered a legend. Would Enyimba have won that title with another goalkeeper between the sticks? I believe so, and in fact there were three very good goalkeepers there at the time, rotating starting duties between themselves.

Now, for a club like Plateau United, who win their first-ever title last season, every player who played a crucial part in it is automatically a club legend. That’s because such a success is momentous, never-before-seen.

Same thing goes for the Rangers side that won the title two years ago, breaking a 32-year “jinx”. The weight of that burden lifted, the long wait, the rise of a sleeping giant, makes that title doubly meaningful.

For some clubs that may never aspire to a title triumph, longevity of playing career alone may be enough. For some whose aim is simply to avoid relegation, the scorer of a saving survival goal may even enter the discussion. It is not an exact science, but categorizing legends is certainly a stimulating mental exercise.


Enyimba new gaffer: “Our pitch is not for opponents”

Good morning Guys,

I spoke all through yesterday, so today on the blog I’m going mum. And I’ll hand the microphone to Enyimba gaffer, Usman Abdallah. He will speak on the pitch, his love for the governor and his new task for his players.

“Yea, It’s an excellent pitch. Very very good work from the contractor and I think a lot lot of thanks to the Governor of the State because seriously, he has done a wonderful job for this team. Because giving a team like Enyimba the darling of Aba and the Governor also coming back to give this darling a stadium like that, seriously words will not be enough to thank him.

“And I wish him well, and we are thanking him for the support he has given us. He came down and watched our last training, that is fantastic. Because in Kano, I haven’t seen a Governor coming to the stadium to watch but this Governor is a footballer. You know, I love the way he talks, I love the way he jokes. He really understands…

“His coming down (to watch us) has done a great great job for us. It will make us forget all the hassles that we have been through and he has promised to help us which I believe he will because we have seen it. So, I wish him all the best and we are going to tell him that we are not gonna fail him, we will still make him proud, and we will pay him back for the wonderful job he has done by the grace of God. So, it’s a good pitch.

“Secondly, to the players of Enyimba, we have to understand that having a good pitch for us, we have to take advantage of this pitch, we have to master this pitch. We have to make this pitch become like a lion’s den. That anybody that comes here have to shiver in this field, this is what we are trying to make this pitch become, its ours. Playing here point has to become our right, it has to become our birthright. That’s what it’s supposed to be.

“If not, then this pitch, people will come here and enjoy the pitch and play good football. No, it’s not meant for opponents, its meant for Enyimba, so we have to master this pitch and then take over control on this pitch and by this grace of God this will be achieved. We just need some small patience…

I like him – our gaffer. I like him very much but that doesn’t ignore the fact that he has got big big shoes to fill. Not Aigbogun’s shoes but those of every Enyimba fan who is passionate about on pitch successes too. But like he has asked, we need to be patient.

Thats all for right now; “Corner-kick” will be posted in a few hours. Have a good one guys.


Becoming too efficient to be ignored

Good morning Guys,

There’s a story I’ve never told and today I’ll like to tell that story. It’s a bit lengthy but hopefully you can read and learn of the thoughts therein.

In April 2014, I got a job as an LMC Match Delegate. Being a Matchday delegate means that you are responsible for reporting live events from a match venue onto the social media platforms. There are a growing number of fans on twitter and Facebook and they crave these updates.

Preparing for the game.

First of all, I asked myself. How can I be excellent at this matchday live reporting? BBC Sport, theGuardian Sport and a few others do some very good live updates, so my wisdom would be to learn from them. I got on their websites and I tried to see what they do and how I can do it from my match venue. Next, I ensured that everyday, I would read at least three match reports from their sites. Everyday.

I also observed that they give so much information regarding the two teams playing each other. So I knew I must do some research by myself. So if for instance I get posted for Akwa United vs Enugu Rangers, I would research previous games involving these teams and their star players. This was why, I was occasionally writing match previews, (pre and post season reviews as well) for the LMC website. Because if you can do a little research, you’ll realize that there is a wealth of information available on our league teams online.

I also tried to follow some older colleagues that I know are better than I am. The likes of George Akpayen, Fisayo Dairo, Solace Chukwu and a couple of others are good at what they do with regards to League reporting, I would read them, try to write like them, try to copy them, just to measure up till I have my own niche.

Question: How did I get the time to do all of this? Well, truth is, you will always find time to do what is most important to you. I was new in the industry and there was a lot of competition, I had to ensure excellent delivery. It was not optional. Rather than spend time chatting on Facebook or WhatsApp, I would engage in things to improve my work.

On the matchday

I would arrive the match venue between 60-90 minutes to kickoff. If you wait till the last minute; you could get caught up in traffic and miss the kickoff. The LMC is depending on you to deliver live updates – you can not afford to tell stories. No matter how good and pitiful the excuses sounded.

When I first arrive, I’ll go speak with the match officials and get the team-sheets. Now armed with my notes, I’ll see the trends – I’ll see if there have been any changes to the previous game’s lineup and I’ll send that to the guy in the control room in Lagos.

The guy in the control room needs his work to be made his work easier. Why? He has nine other delegates sending him info, he doesn’t have time to verify my info because they are all coming at once. Send him team-sheets as early as possible. Then I’ll look around for professional photographers (back in the day, the LMC weren’t allocating us photographers). So I’ll find one and I’ll pay him for a couple of good shots. I’ll tell him what shots I wanted and I’ll pay him from my pocket.

I had two phones – both armed with data. Sometimes when the stadium is jampacked, the cell towers are jammed and sending emails becomes impossible. So if my MTN messes up, my Etisalat is ready to go. I could not use bad network as an excuse why I couldn’t send live updates on time and when it’s needed.


Next as the game starts, I am taking my own notes. I’m counting tackles and shots and cautions and corner-kicks. It’s good to watch a live game at a stadium with a pretty girl but not at the expense of my work. If she’s not helping me do my job, our love will have to wait till after I had sent my reports. Uttermost focus and concentration is demanded of you throughout the game.

Sometimes I can miss an action because I was texting when it happened, but before emailing anything I’m not 100% sure, I’ll have to confirm first. Let me explain. If there was a goal and I’m not sure who scored. I’ll simply email my handler – “GOAL, Rangers. Details in a bit”. Then I’ll walk down toward a match official closest to me and enquire. Because my report must be as accurate as possible. The fourth official is rarely wrong. I could equally confirm from the bench of the team that scored.


The goal is to ensure that the match reports are sent in at most an hour after full time. So if the media area is convenient, I’ll sit back to start writing my report. Having prepared myself before the game by reading who BBC and TheGuardian match reports, writing is easier.

Then If I’m not able to get full time reaction from the players or coaches, I’ll ask any of the local journalists who were there at the presser. Sometimes spending N200 to buy lacasera and gala for a local journo beside is never money wasted. He/She would even offer to get you the post match presser.

In all, excuses are the easiest things to get. But there is a reason why when the bosses want people to work at preseason games, they quickly invite the ones they know are reliable. Good work always bears good fruits.

I haven’t written this because I am flawless or anything like that but if you’re eyeing the big stage; excuses must be out of your system.

Back tomorrow


No, not just the pitch, there’s a lot more good stuff for the Enyimba stadium

Good morning All,

We’ve dwelt a lot on our new stadium for the past couple of weeks and although this project does indeed deserves substantial level of attention, the underlying point is that, it is about all that’s going on at this time. So for yet another day, we will give it another hit.

Someone asked on social media; what becomes of the surroundings of the stadium? It is a well known fact that the Enyimba stadium is literally a jewel in the mire. The stadium is right in the heart of the Aba New Market. Inside the walls of the stadium, there is a malaria pool where mosquitoes are cultivated.

Well, if you were concerned like I am, it appears there are equally plans to raise the standard of the Enyimba facility. To extend the work beyond the stadium pitch and give the stadium a real facelift. The contractor, Mr Egbe, aka Monimichelle gave some insight into what the governor is doing on the Enyimba facility.

Let’s put the past behind us and be progressives, I might be the contractor but am also an Enyimba fan, A team as big as Enyimba deserves the best of infrastructure. Given the limited resources available to Abia state and the top class facilities the Governor is bent on installing at the Enyimba Stadium, I think the Governor should be encouraged.

“Today as am commenting on this platform, Dr Ikpeazu has fully paid for the latest technology money can buy in the stadium flood light world, the lights are set to be airfreighted right now to Nigeria, All hands are on deck to get the Enyimba Stadium ready for the CARA GAME on the 28th of August.

“The Enyimba Stadium project is in 3 phases, the first phase is the pitch, public toilets, lockers etc to bring Enyimba back home. Second phase is the Enyimba Stadium surroundings and upgrading the VIP area to accommodate private box’s and hospitality areas to meet 21st century standards.

“And the third phase is construction of outdoor FIBA approved Basketball court, FIVB approved Volley ball court, Handball court and revamping of the sports hall and gym. Dr Ikpeazu has a first class knowledge on how to manage contractors.

I’m not sure about you but this does indeed fill my heart with gladness. So the drainage already fixed, we have better and improved locker rooms, in addition to convenience for the fans too. These gestures are ideal and it does in no small measure cover up what had shamed us in the past.

Although you wanna also ask how these things will be maintained because the work going on there is only as good as the plan for maintenance and if the people in the Sports ministry/club hierarchy can take advantage of this to the fullest. And despite how long it has taken, let’s give honor where it is due, Dr. Ikpeazu has been immense. Thank you Sir.

Well guys, that’s it for today.

Let’s give it another hit tomorrow.


Now that we have an ultramodern stadium…

I am elated by the news of our stadium coming back to us in a brand new state. I used the picture for my laptop wallpaper, a colleague saw it and asked whether it was Stamford Bridge.

We’re looking all professional again. But something tells me that the joy we experience now will soon give way to the status quo. Pardon my pessimism.

I am even tempted to cast and bind the idea the normal Nigerian way. But no. We should talk about this. Really.

For the records, I am a huge supporter of the club, but I speak out when things aren’t in shape and that’s my intention here.

That last time I was at the stadium, I beheld strange sights that should never exist in a modern stadium, nay club of our pedigree and I will highlight a few.

The Restroom debacle:

In the final match of the 2014 season where we hosted Kano Pillars, I noticed we had no known rest rooms for the fans in the various stands.

I saw a visiting fan relieve himself beneath one of the stairs that led to that stand by the right side of the VIP stand.

Taking a tour through the back side of the stands, I saw mounds of dried human shit. Disgusting!

“Now that our stadium is modern”, we need neat rest rooms with working water supply for the fans to relieve themselves at each of the stands.

Ticketing system:

Imagine visiting Stamford Bridge and touts with flaming wraps of marijuana stuck between their two first fingers are selling you sub-standard tickets amidst shoves and chaos. That’s a normal scenario in our stadium during match days.

Now that we have a modern stadium, can we modernize our ticketing system. Let the fans purchase their match tickets online before-hand and bring the evidence to the stadium during match days.

Crowd management

If our stadium is an 18,000 capacity stadium, should we sell tickets to over 20,000 fans? That’s of course not including the ones that came in by knowing the guy at the gate.

We can do better by selling tickets according to the number of empty seats, then provide viewing areas within the stadium when the seats are gone. Then again, there should be proper and accurate accountability for these tickets. It’s about time we really stepped up our game and standardized things.


It’s really baffling how a club of Enyimba’s status with a constant appearance on the Continent is unable to convince businesses to sign up with the brand. I may not know the efforts going on underneath, but the one thing we all see shows that we have failed in that regards.

Now that our stadium is modern, we need to hire a team of marketing professionals to set the ball rolling. Avenues should be set in motion to generate revenue for the club.

Our online platforms

I like many others, ordered for the club jersey on the online store since 2015, up till this moment that jersey is still AWOL.

Now that our stadium is modern, we need a befitting and working online store to go with it. One that will collect payments and deliver. One that doesn’t go AWOL.

Most pages on our website are still empty. The media team should get to work. If content is their problem. I am available.

See you later. ***Hands MIC over to @EnyimbaEnyi

This blog was written by Mr. Sopuru Egbodo. He is a content creator, web manager and social media guru. Please follow him on twitter via @theSopuruEgbodo

Enyimba, Nigeria and Michigan

Good day homies 😉

Not much going on this weekend from an Enyimba point of view, except that training has indeed began in earnest with Djoliba in view. We play the Malians in eight days and is a game we know will shape the rest of this season and maybe the next too. More of that in the days ahead.

In the absence of any significant Enyimba gists, I’ll just highlight some little stuff I observed when I was in Michigan last December. I know sometimes there’s a lot of criticism here in the blog and you all know I don’t enjoy doing it but in the contrary, where would you find praiseworthy stuff?

I attended a college basketball game last December in Michigan. The attendance was about 200 and was majorly made up of families, friends and the rest sponsors and students. A few things caught my attention, especially as I mirrored it to my experience of sports here in Nigeria.

First, there were advertisements all over the court. The names of the sponsors were literally littered all over the surfaces – on the boards, on the matchday program (Yes, Matchday Program) and for some there was temporary signage boards all around. It was difficult to not see these things.

The funny thing is that these sponsors were drawn from the local population. Nothing extraordinary but it’s easy to see how that these guys are trying to make you rather buy Dominos pizza than Pizza Hut. Local businesses including water bottling small businesses. I was amazed.

Then there was the packaging. There was a sound system in that little college Basketball court. This was not special or InterHouse Sports, this was a regular Basketball season against a team about twenty miles away. There were clean uniforms, for players of both teams and the officials. It looked very standardized, I was impressed.

I began to think about it. Community college; what would happen for the regular universities or semi/professional teams? You can see the principle of packaging your stuff in a manner it gets appealing begins from the littler things.

What does it cost? Not much. The only cost is placing value on your property. Because people will only value your stuff only as much as the value you put on it. When you look at your club, what do you see? Do you see a little club that has won 16 trophies or you see an opportunity to grow this club as much as the leading brands in the world?

The world? Are you kidding me? No I’m not. What stops us from being the best? What do these guys have that we don’t have or can’t create? We have thriving local businesses for starts. Who says we can’t regulate the drinks and foods eaten on match days at the Enyimba stadium, handing the rights to one of these companies and make them pay heavily for the monopoly?

Our excuses are no longer good enough and it’s about time we tried to embrace honesty in examining ourselves. My talk today isn’t only about Enyimba but every other thing we do for which excellence is required. Because guess what? That’s the minimum the world expects.

Back tomorrow


“Oruwo, Chineke, Oruwo”, Enyimba Legend recounts what he missed the most of the Aba stadium

Good morning All,

ThatEnyimbaFan sat down with Enyimba Legend, Mfon Udoh, as the team had It’s first training on the new Aba Pitch Friday morning. Mfon Udoh is one of the six players still at the club since the club last played on the Aba surface. There had been stints in Umuahia, Port Harcourt and Calabar but the Elephant is back home.

Transcripts below –

How much have you Mfon Udoh, missed this town and this stadium?

Honestly, I’ve really missed the town because we have one of the best fans in the country. Amazing fans, very supportive. Even though sometimes they lose their cool, but they are always very supportive. Playing in-front of them brings a different level of inspiration.

I can remember at times when we are down during the game, like maybe we are drawing, there is a particular song the fans like singing: The song is like a plea to God, God please, help us in this game. “Oruwo Chineke oruwo” Like God it’s time, please show us your mercy.

And when they start singing that song, we that are inside the field are like, “Oh God, how can we rescue these fans?” And they are there crying, singing and before you know it, the inspiration just starts coming and before long, something is done, a goal is scored or something happens and we win the game and everyone goes home happy. We haven’t had anything like that these three years and we have missed that.

Every time they call us, “when are you guys coming back home”? We are trying very much, we are pushing the Governor to make sure the stadium is finished. It’s just like the Continental game we have coming up, we know the crowd is going to be massive and the fans will come in their numbers.

How much of a boost will returning to Aba be for the club’s targets this season?

Well the club’s target is actually going for a double, if not a treble. Because we are going to win the Federations Cup in Nigeria, win the League and then the CAF Confederations Cup in Africa.

I know it sounds impossible but impossibility is nothing. All these feats can be achieved if the right attitude is being put in place.

How much has the Chairman, Chief Felix Anyansi-Agwu helped in stabilizing this team despite not playing at home these three years?

The Chairman deserves so much kudos for the stability he has brought to the team. Even though we have been away from home for about three seasons right now but playing for Chief Anyansi makes it feel like we are still at home.

Because of the way he approaches the games. He makes us believe we are still at home. He calms down the pressure, he has tried to stabilize this team these three years. Sometimes teams play away from home and they can get relegated. The Chairman deserves to be applauded for the great work he has done in the club.

What is the quality of the new team we now have, seeing a lot of the players these fans are used to have left?

Well, you know players come and go, the Nigerian system lacks consistency in their team squad. But I wouldn’t say right now we have the best of players or the least of players but I think that the team is stable. From our results in our past games, in the past games we have played, I think we have a good squad. But I believe that if the team is retained for a longer period, we have the potential to be a very great team.

Djoliba away in Mali next week; the team needs a result to go through. What is the mentality going into that game?

Like one of my coaches would say, “Go and commit suicide and come out alive”. I think that’s what we are going for. It’s going to be Operation no mercy. We need to get if not maximum three points, at least a point in that game to make sure to remain in the race to make it out of the Group.

That should be enough for today. Congratulations to Ejim Tony who won this week’s edition of our ThatEnyimbaFan Giveaway. We are under some pressure to make it a weekly thing, hopefully our sponsor agrees too. But I’ll let you know as things develop.

That’s your lot for today.

Back tomorrow.


A very special day for the Enyimba faithful

Good morning All,

Today is a special Friday. So how about a very short blog? Well, today is special because, for the first time in over three years, our lads will train on our own pitch. Depending on when you my dear reader eventually reads your ThatEnyimbaFan dose, the training could either be all done, still ongoing or yet finished.

But the training had taken place and in our stomping ground. A lot of the players would be playing on the surface as Enyimba players for the first time ever. The likes of Joseph Osadiaye and Nelson Ogbonnaya and Dare Ojo have never played at the Aba stadium in Enyimba colors.

There are conflicting stories as to whether the training session is open to fans or exclusively for the players. But whatever be the case, tomorrow’s blog will be something quite special off today’s training. Don’t ask what, just be here tomorrow.

The other special thing happening today is ThatEnyimbaFan is giving away another 5K today. The primary reason for this is so you don’t say I never rewarded you for visiting the blog daily. Naaaa that’s untrue. We found a sponsor who just wants to encourage the ministry. What does he sell? I’ll tell you soon.

So this evening at 7pm y’all should join us on social networking site twitter as we find the one who will start his weekend with our 5K. For those of you who are part of these, (I sent out emails yesterday). Please there won’t be any late arrivals. For starters, ensure you are following us and that you have sent out the tweet we asked you to in yesterday’s first blog

That’s all I’m able to write today. I wish the finalists all the best and our players, a good time out on our new pitch. I’ll refer you to yesterday’s blog for the ground rules. Again, all the best.

Back tomorrow


Corner-kick: NPFL Players, Food and your performance.

Let’s talk about something we can all easily relate to. Let’s talk about food.

Birthrights have been sold for it, wars fought over it. It is necessary for survival, it is even more crucial for professional athletes.

I’m no doctor, but I know that, during physical activity, the body needs glucose to function. It gets this by metabolizing what we eat. And if you own an automobile, you know that the type of fuel matters. You cannot power your average salon car or SUV with kerosene. Similarly, heavy duty vehicles, like trucks and tankers, cannot run on petrol.

Where am I going with this? Well, think of us “regular” people as SUVs. Our daily routines and work schedules consist mainly of white-collar stuff. For professional athletes, they perform high-energy bodily functions every single day: they are trucks.

That means that, for them, their fuel ought to be different. Why then do we claim to be running a professional league in Nigeria when there is no oversight regarding how our “professional” players nourish themselves?

You would think our clubs would employ (and use) nutritionists to monitor and draw up meal plans for their players to follow, in order to ensure meals are eaten at the right times, that the right foods for the release of energy are eaten on matchdays. You would be wrong.

Instead, our players eat the same meals, with the same recklessness, as you and I. The same eba, pounded yam, you name it… Wolfed down with huge servings of red meat. Mind, these meals are not necessarily gotten from the most sanitary vendors, oh no. Under trees, in shacks, sitting on benches by a sewage drain. Yes, you know the type. All under the club’s nose, and with their endorsement.

To be fair, this isn’t simply a failing on the part of the clubs. The players themselves are also culpable. As a footballer, your body is your workspace and your toolkit, and you are aware of this. If the club fails in its responsibility to ensure that the player it has purchased for an exorbitant fee gets the proper nutrition to do the job he is being paid an exorbitant amount to do, what should you do about it?

Commonsense would dictate that you get a nutritionist and consult on feeding plans. Many of them complain about how they’re not treated like Cristiano Ronaldo. Well, guess what? Up until this summer, Ronaldo played for the richest club in the world. He still employed and paid a physical therapist from his own pocket, and invested in equipment to aid his fitness and recovery. The man is still going strong at an age where most would have packed up.

Alright then, so you don’t want to spend the huge sums you’re paid as salary for this. Understandable; in Nigeria, money can go very quickly once immediate and extended families open their beaks and cry. Get on the internet then, with those expensive phones you own, and Google ‘meal plans for professional athletes’. Go from there. It really is that simple.

Instead, we have a system such as we do now. Much as we are sympathetic to the plight of the players, they must bear some of the responsibility themselves. It seems both sides instead try to cut costs and shortchange the other. As the pidgin saying goes, “Cunny man die, cunny man bury am”

Congratulations to our winners: striking players

Good morning All,

I’m gonna try to keep this blog post today less than 300 words. Reason is, I have a big day ahead of me today and to be honest, I have this feeling that a lot of you prefer short and concise blogposts. So let’s see how much we can scribble into the little space we have today.

First and foremost, we have an impressive number of positive feedback from yesterday’s quiz. The question was too simple, wasn’t it? Well, guess someone had to still send in a wrong answer. Someone did say Amodu Shaibu. No jokes. Whether it was a joke, only the Lord and this fella know.

The correct answer is Stephen Keshi and for all who got the right answer, kindly confirm via your emails. Some got the answer but they didn’t get any emails because they chose to answer on the website. Go back and read the instruction. I even put it in all bold characters. Yet, some people failed to read instruction. So you see where you missed out on a chance to win our money?

For the winners, check your email and get ready for Friday.

In other news, it appears that Enyimba players are protesting non payment of their match bonuses and according to some report, they have refused to train. I’ve seen this script play out time and time again and guess what? This year, I’ll just walk past and not utter a word – not in defence of the players nor to the club management..

if you would have the boldness to strike when you have a make or break Continent fixture ahead of you, and this strike is not about salaries anymore but bonuses, then there’s no saving you. Same line to the club hierarchy. If this game means anything to you, then you know the priority right now should be getting the players ready.

Well, whatever.

I’ll be back tomorrow.