My Enyimba story could be likened to that of a boy who developed an instant likeness for Captain America because of his superhero acts.
Enyimba’s superhero act in 2003 was what made me grew so much fond of the team. The burden of carrying the flag of the entire country in the CAF champions league and the prospect of winning it for the first time for the country added to me becoming a fan.
It was in August 2003. I stumbled upon an old Sports paper with the caption: “CAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE – Enyimba 3-0 Simba”. That was when I found out that Enyimba was in the quarter finals; and my interest in the competition grew instantly because Enyimba started well.
I happened to be the type of boy that read virtually everything I saw along the road – be it election billboards or obituary posters etc. I could spend minutes or hours inside the toilet reading old Newspapers, especially sports papers that had to do with Enyimba and CAF champions league.
The Second group match was in Egypt, and I saw some clips from that 6-1 thumping of Enyimba by Ismaili on TV. It was that bad I must say. Enyimba would go on to finish ahead of Ismaili as group winners beating the Egyptian team in Aba.
That game ended 4-2. I remember watching that pulsating encounter under the scorching sun outside a barbershop somewhere in Onitsha.
Actually, as “Nwa otu” through and through, I happened to be a fan of Jasper Utd, Udoji Utd and Gabros FC all because of my big brother who used to bring papers and photos of these teams that are based in and around Onitsha.
But my love for Enyimba eclipsed that of Gabros FC and the rest and it was further confirmed when Enyimba beat Ismaili 2-1 over two legs in the 2003 CAF Champions League finals.
However, the prospect of retaining the trophy in 2004 was visibly imminent as a result of the support the Enyimba team started to get from various angles in the country. But it finally came to pass,and Enyimba became African champions once again.
En-route to that glorious triumph in 2004; I remember going from house to house on Champions League match-days telling people to tune in NTA for me so I could watch Enyimba live on TV – Yes! I was so addicted to Enyimba that much.
Fast forward to 2011 when I watched Enyimba play live for the first time at Enyimba stadium. It was Enyimba against Al Ittihad of Libya, a one-off Second round match that was played in Aba. All thanks to political turmoil in Libya.
As a Fresh face in Aba, who knew only the route from Omuma Road to Ariaria, I decided to watch the game against Ittihad live at the Enyimba stadium after I heard about it on Rhythm 93.7 FM PH and Cool FM 95.9 FM PH respectively a day before.
After some practical inquisitive actions on the Faulks Road to Ngwa Road route, I finally set my foot in the Enyimba stadium. Enyimba beat Al Ittihad 1-0 with the goal coming from the spot kick in the second half.
The task of watching more Enyimba games at the stadium was majestically bestowed on me after a successful debut. I actually watched all Enyimba home matches in that season’s competition including a 2-nil home win over Coton Sport of Cameroon which put the icing on the cake to our first place finish in our group. Even the heavy rain on that evening could not stop our victory.
After the match, I was so shrieking with laughter on my way home despite the flood that engulfed the roads in the city.
I would like to conclude thus – Making Enyimba my number one team in Africa has been one of the best decisions I ever made.
Written by Enyimba fan, Ejim Tony.