Revenge is best served with a glass of cold kunu. I’m unsure of where those words came from but those were our tweets at full time. Lobi and Tony Okpotu had us wondering how to make sense of dropped points at home at this crucial point of the season, but our big guys lived up to the hype and goals from captain fantastic, Mfon Udoh and ageless tireless Andre Pirlo Ikechukwu Ibenegbu aka Mosquito completed the turnaround.
Yesterday’s blog arrived quite late and rather than the usual rant, we felt led to talk about memories and what a pain in the bumbum Lobi had become in recent times. With the poor pitch of the UJ Esuene and the emptiness of it and the knowledge that Benue has borders with Calabar compared with us on the other side and separated by Akwa Ibom, it looked like we were really the away side.
The lineup wasn’t spectacular. It was just about normal except the return to action of Ikechukwu Ibenegbu and the suspension of Stephen Chukwude. Andrew and Ikouwem continued at both fullback positions and Ghanaian International, Fatau Dauda was in goal. Just a little above a quarter of an hour played, we found ourselves a goal down. Kester’s poor attempt at a back pass found the wrong shirt- Okpotu was never gonna miss. Certainly not a man who had notched 65 goals for Lobi.
Talk about a mountain to climb- I’ve seen Lobi defend their lives away in hostile territory. I’ve seen them beat Rangers in Enugu and get a draw off Rivers United/Dolphins in Port Harcourt. Lobi isn’t a team you wish to find yourself looking to get a goal against. I muttered to myself – here, watch our very slim Continental dreams puff off in smokes. But the updates said we were fighting. Ok, a draw then maybe, I hoped.
Second half started. Waited, no show. And the minutes were flying by- 50 then 60 then 70 and then 80th minute. Lobi still had the lead. It was disappearing now. We had bottled it yet again. I started picturing the blog for the next day and the rage it would bear. Then out of the blues- GOOOOOOOOAL, the club official handle tweeted. Underneath it, it was 1-1. Mfon Udoh had sent his marker on errands and fired us level.
Alas, too late I thought. A share of the spoils. It still had the disappointment of losing touch with the leading pack. Then some fellow felled Leonard right at the edge of the area. Mosquito territory. He had done it in back to back home games now and could he wave those gracious boots once again? Yes was the answer – Ibenegbu curled it, over the wall and into the top corner.
There was no calming the joys of the Enyimba faithful following the game all across the globe. I screamed from where I was- my collegues wanted to know if I was okay. Yes, I was. Somehow we had salvaged the three points right at the death. A game I had long lost hopes of a three points. And it was that man again, Mosquito, who since his signing for us has brought his quality to the fore. On a second missionary journey to Enyimba but a rare breed, one of the League’s finests.
Lobi hurt us February 26th 2017 when they downed 10 man Enyimba in the 93rd minute in Makurdi. And here they were few minutes from stoppage time and they leave with absolutely nothing in the bag. Yea guys, that’s how it felt on that sad Sunday evening. We had thought, yea we’re getting three points from Makurdi. And then, ok maybe a point. Till that late goal snatched it all from us. This is how it felt guys – have a taste of it. Some kunu to gulp it down.
It’s also good to note that we didn’t need dodgy penalties like certain teams do to get back in the game. We wanna beat you, we beat you cleanly – that’s another reason why this victory should be noised even louder. This is also why when we get in the Continent, we give a good account of ourselves. This is what makes us Enyimba International, Nigeria’s most successful club.
Yes and our away form needs to improve though. But that is talk for another day.
Savour this win guys – it’s no mean feat.