Good morning Guys.
It’s the day before the big day and the excitement + anxiety will continue its ascent and that’s understandably so. It’s probably going to hit the highest by tonight and it will take something really special to sleep without having thoughts of how it’s all going to open up on Sunday. That’s my experience before big games, I know most of you are very tough guys and you don’t ever have such experiences. When I grow up, I’ll like to be that way too.
In the choice of playing personnel, there are key Questions for Mr Aigbogun ahead of this tie. (Mr Aigbogun by the way won the League Bloggers Award for May). We have the compliment of a fully fit squad and his choice of selection will really be interesting to see. Already we gave established that only a very few players have always started whenever they are fit. But beyond that, the inconsistent performances from most of the lads mean you’re not even sure what to expect from the players ahead of this. Let me explain.
In defence, the only most likely starter is the skipper who is well, impossible to drop. Aside just being the captain, we know what to expect from him, so it’s inevitable that he starts. But the bigger problem is who plays in the back five. Safe hands Theo should get the nod in goal, he looks the most assured of our goalkeepers but like Udoji too, he must be wary of complacency.
The earlier Champions League games saw Udoji and Anyanwu before we saw Udoji and Anaemena vs Etoile home and away. In the League games that followed, we saw Udoji and Thankgod, and with everyone fit and roaring for action, what pair is it going to be? The three pair possibilities all have their uniqueness and weaknesses. It’s not our duty to talk about that here, you don’t know who’s reading.
At left back, you have Akas and Uwadiegwu itching for a start there. Before the signing of the former, Uwadiegwu had a decent displays but has rarely featured since Akas joined. At the opposite flank, we have had Uche John, Ifeanyi George and even Dare Ojo. Who’s going to get the nod? I have absolutely no clue.
In the middle, Kester and Ojo have both played in DM. Kester did OK in the games that Dare was deployed at right back and when he went on his marriage leave. In fact starting from the game in Sousse when Kester replaced Ibenegbu, he’s had a good run in the team. So who gets picked? I don’t know. Can’t even recommend. It would however be decent if both players feature even if one is played in a different position.
In front of them is either the experienced Ibenegbu or the younger and more enthusiastic Nzube. Like the duo behind them, Nzube has also featured on the right, and it did work to perfection in Kano. More than anything else, I think in that game in Kano we had all of Kester, Ojo, Nzube and Ibenegbu all play and somehow we were not overrun in the middle. I don’t think it’s unconnected with the fact that they all are primarily midfielders.
On the flanks, the gaffer has to choose two from Etor, Osadiaye, Mfon, Bassey, Abalogu and Nzube. Which two from the six have been most outstanding so far this season? Honestly they have all had their flashes here and there, it’s just difficult to pinpoint a pair that have been much more effective and efficient than the others.
Up top it doesn’t get any easier. Musa Najere, Abu Azeez, Ugochukwu Leonard, Peter Onyekachi, Chukwude Stephen, Christian Pyagbara and the newcomer Ifeanyi Onuigbo are all likely contenders for the two slots. I think it’s a shame that I can look at this group and I am unable to pick the best two.
Thankfully I’m not the gaffer, he probably knows his best players and his selection choices tomorrow will give us a picture. However the players who he eventually picks tomorrow owe him a big performance against Zamalek.
There is not one player currently in the League who wouldn’t wish they had this opportunity to play in the Champions League. In other words those who gets picked to play has to show that indeed they are deserving of this opportunity, that they have been readying themselves for this and they are actually serious about their football careers. If at this stage, you’re still unsure of the burden of being an Enyimba player, then you have no business wearing the blue Jersey.
This is the big stage and there’s absolutely no room for rehearsing on stage. Thing is, anyone of them who puts up anything less than a big performance can as well rule themselves out of the coming fixtures. That’s how important tomorrow’s performance is, how many gaffes will do? This is why we keep talking about the attitude of players both on and off the pitch.
Anyway, the governor is bringing buses to cart fans from the Aba Stadium to the match venue, I learnt that the departure time is from 10 am. So make a quick dash to church on Sunday and get back in time to meet the ride to Port Harcourt.
That’s your lot this morning. We’ll have a match preview here waiting tomorrow morning.
Enjoy your Saturday.