We face Smouha SC tomorrow in a second leg of our first round CAF Champions League tie. We hold a small margin having won the first leg, 1-0 in Aba three weeks ago. After a trailer load of misses, Raphael Boumsong turned up at the right place and time to power home a header early in the second half.
Here are 5 reasons why we should go through tomorrow.
1. Smouha are not even a mid table side: Forgive me guys if I’m trying to sound arrogant but let’s be honest, Smouha is hardly the best Egypt has. Everyone, themselves inclusive are as shocked finding them in the CAF Champions League this season. It’s their debut season in the competition and understandably they lack the experience to do well in the tournament. We saw them play in Aba three weeks ago and let’s be honest, they are as ordinary as you can imagine. Currently 12th, closer to relegation than the top, we should be winning this one.
2. We have a one goal lead and a clean sheet: We beat them in Aba. Of course this doesn’t mean that we got any three points because a similar reverse fixture tomorrow will have us back to square one but then they also know they cannot afford to concede because an away goal outs their hopes of going through on the ropes. We barely have any pressure on us because we know if we score there, then they must score three to go through. Which was the last side to score three against Enyimba?
3. Smouha need to score: They put up an impressive defensive display in Aba but let’s be honest, it was our woeful finishing and not really their defensive stability that gave us the victory that day. This time around we will be looking to see that attacking side of them that they were hurdling in ?Aba. The danger for them is that they have to find a way to balance up attacking and defending without leaving gaps behind we can exploit. When you play in the Champions League, you ought to be careful to ensure your display in the first leg doesn’t cost you the next round. Ahem Arsenal.
4. No twelfth man: The violence that erupted few weeks ago in a Premier League game in Egypt means that fans are currently barred from attending football matches in the country. This means that Smouha will be playing against us with empty seats surrounding everyone. No noise, no pressure, no tension from the stands. It should actually be an open game, a little like on a neutral ground. This should be to our advantage and match officials should not be under any pressures to do the home team any favours.
5. We are the Enyimba: The last but definitely not the least reason is the fact that we are the Enyimba, the best side in the country and one of the very best in the Continent. You will not expect us to implode on the big stage and losing a game of this magnitude will only require a series of errors. Again, aside from an injury to Chijioke Ejiogu, who did not make the trip, we have a full house. Peter and Sokari Kingsley are back to the team in addition to Chima Uluocha and Sikiru Kamal. No one else is injured, no one is enlisting in the army *Ahem Smouha. We are the People’s Elephant and we always live up to the billing.
Of course football is not won on paper, and a 1-0 lead even against a weaker opposition is hardly ideal because it is your form on the day that counts but if we cannot over the threat of this team then we don’t deserve to be in the next round. A club of our status should have our eyes firmly fixed on the next round of this competition.