Corner-kick: CAFCC, The Audacity of Hope

No, this is not a blog about a certain former US President who likes to sit amidst flowers. Let’s get that out of the way. This is a quick one about the rollercoaster of emotions that comes with being a football fan.

Whatever club you follow, you will agree that hope is the commodity that it sells. The promise of something better, of a surge up the table, of qualification to a higher standard of competition. Sure, not all clubs achieve this. But, on some level, there must be a sense that the club is willing to try. Make us dream; else, what’s the point?

What this means is that, from one week to the next, and from one performance to the next, how you feel about your club can vary wildly.

Take Enyimba, for instance. For a while, it seemed we had made a mess of qualifying from the Group. Somehow, we went to Mali and claimed an improbable win, before finishing the job at home. After the initial euphoria wore off, apprehension took over: would we be able to get a kind draw? We did, when Rayon Sport came out of the hat. Surely, our pedigree would be too much for them. But the snag was that, if we came through that, it would almost certainly be Raja Casablanca in the semi-final.

Our mostly forgettable performances in the Group Stage, combined with the lacklustre goalless draw in the first leg against Rayon, made you wonder if we would be up to a prospective meeting with the Moroccans. But then, we proceeded to hammer the Rwandans in Aba, and suddenly it feels like we can just about take anybody right now.

That’s how easily confidence can be fostered, how quickly perceptions can change. The 5-0 result was eye-catching, not so much for the scoreline, but for what the scoreline signified. Raja will, on paper, be favorites. But we can face them with no fear now. And we can dream

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