Congratulations Ladies and Gentlemen. We are the 2014 Federations Cup Winners. Enyimba International, the most successful team in Nigeria, we have made history again, successfully defending the trophy and fending off the challenge of Dolphins of Port Harcourt.
We had a poor first half by all standards while our opponents brought the game to us. They just were better side in terms of threats and chances created. 3 shots on target from them against none from us. Our only effort in the first half was Mfon’s effort that was ballooned off target, there was just one corner kick in the half and it was Dolphins’. Emem Eduok who I heard has a $1million dollars price tag on him troubled us all day and Emma Anyanwu battled to keep an eye on him while Udoji mopped up and with the game played at such intense sunshine. we struggled to find any rhythm whatsoever.
We were simply lucky to get into the break without conceding and of course there were those red-card-worthy tackles, one from Emeka Nwanna and Jonathan Zikiye on Mfon Udoh. Some referees could have sent the players off for such challenges but this one thought otherwise, thankfully. Actually it was the same referee that officiated our goalless draw with Giwa in Aba, Zachary Baraje’s last match as manager this season.
We started the second period lot better. Kadiri Ikhana knew Sokari needed to be more involved in the game so he pulled out Nwanna and Aliyu for Anaezemba and Olabiyi pushing Nonso Okonkwo up front. This meant we had more bodies in the middle of the park. You see, playing two strikers could work at home where you have that extra advantage from the crowd but it certainly did not work yesterday. Well Nzube and Olabiyi got in and their influence was tangible, it was not long before we began stringing together good passes. As for Dolphins, they were now chasing the ball and those balls sent so often towards Emem Eduok gradually thinned away.
It wasn’t long before we took the lead and who else stepped up the plate but Mfon. He just picked up the ball from the right and ran at their defence. His nice footwork threw off their defender and he unleashed the ball towards the left top corner, it beat Rotimi Sunday and we were ahead. For the 2000th time this season, Mfon grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and got us a goal from somewhere. Minutes later, we doubled and it was Mfon Udoh’s drive again that was responsible. The striker hassled their defender- the one they call ‘Terminator’, released the hardworking Nonso Okonkwo who lifted it beyond Rotimi Sunday.
The moment our second goal went in, we knew the game was safe. They pulled one back and we had a few edges moments but honestly, they could do very little. Emma Anyanwu was stretched out with what was a shoulder injury and Uche John galloped in. We saw off the game expertly and retained our trophy.
Much credit must be given to the Defence who put in an amazing display yesterday. Emma Anyanwu was on Emem Eduok all through the game. Kadiri Ikhana knew he could trust Emem with Emma and the defender did a great job, Markson Ojobo was also spectacular yesterday – Alert in Defence and a threat going forward, Chinedu Udoji really played his heart out- Amazing captain who led by example. Ugwu did well too even though his set pieces were awful. How about Femi? Top lad. That was his best display for us this season by my books. Three good saves in the first half, kept us in the game.
The rest of the team rose up to the billing in the second half especially. Rasheed the invisible wall stood firm, breaking their attacking play and helping play out the ball from the back. Nzube, Sokari and Razak who battled hard in the first half all did well. Hardworking Nonso Okonkwo was full of running all game. Committed performance by the power engine. His goal he also took very well. A reward for his tireless work. Uche John when he was called up in the second half also did very well, using his imposing frame and his positional awareness to cut out any hopes of a come back from them.
Finally, Mfon Udoh, the goal machine. I have run out of superlatives to describe this guy, Yesterday’s performance sums up just how much he bailed us out this season. He scored almost 50% of our goals this season. His drive and motivation for both our goals are just in plain sight for even the blind to see.
So here we are, 2014 Federations Cup Champions, successfully defending the trophy, We have gotten something to cheer for in a season that was filled with challenges. We also got our revenge on a side that caused us the League title. We asked for two wins, two wins the boys delivered. Against Kano Pillars and against Dolphins.
Welldone boys. Enjoy this victory wherever you are as a fan, it is very well deserved,
PS. Picture Courtesy Sunnewsonline.com