Match Preview: Abia Warriors vs Enyimba 

​Good morning all.

So, it’s the derby today. THE derby. Elephants vs Warriors. The heir vs the ugly duckling.  We could go on all day.

In truth, the lustre of this derby is somewhat lost. Our first three meetings against Abia Warriors saw them develop into something of a bogey team for us, oddly enough. We simply couldn’t put them away; 2-2, 3-3, late goals, comebacks, craziness.

Since then, things have calmed down considerably. We’ve won the last two outings by a lone goal, and their yoke is cast off, thankfully. Does this mean it’ll be a cinch today? Absolutely not. They are, after all, swimming frantically to escape relegation, and their win over Nassarawa United at the weekend was their first in seven games.

We know the old cliche that the form book goes out the window for derbies. Usually, no matter how rotten a patch a team is on, the tension and atmosphere of a meeting with your closest rivals gets the adrenalin flowing in an unprecedented flood. There can be no doubt they will be up for it, and under new management too – Abdullahi Biffo has a limited window within which to show himself capable of leading the team beyond the end of this season. Victory over Enyimba in the derby would go a long way, I imagine.

On our part, we have nothing really to play for, save bragging rights. No way are they getting the better of us this season on top of everything else. Not a chance, even if I have to kit up and get in there myself.

You know what? Scratch that thought. I’d probably be more of an impediment than a help.

We can at least look forward to some goals this time, if the records are anything to go by. The Abia derby averages 2.6 goals a game, so none of that goalless stuff, one would expect. Seeing as we just played at the weekend, it’s safe to assume there will be a couple of changes to the lineup. Not in defence, though, where the squad depth is not as pronounced as in other departments.

Chukwude and Najare yielded no goals against MFM, so expect at least one of them to drop out of the side, as the coach shuffles his playing deck. Is it just me, or has the team missed the presence of ‘Mosquito’ Ibenegbu? Nzube is stalwart, and a joy to watch in full flow, but lacks that little dollop of consistency required to regularly run games.

Have a sneaky suspicion we’ll see Osadiaye from the start, as he is rated very highly by the coaching staff. It would be in keeping with the nature of the tie at hand: one expects coach Aigbogun is aware of the scale of this rivalry, and will as a matter of course name what he considers his strongest side.

There is nothing on the line for us, save pride, and so the pressure will be on our neighbours to get a result and force the issue. Our preference for four forwards at a time would be great for a counterattacking strategy, though it doesn’t look like a major point of interest for the coach. In any case, a woman is never old when it comes to a dance she knows, so we must shake ourselves as at other times.

Kick-off is at 4, and we will review the result and performance on the blog tomorrow.



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