Monday ramblings: Preparing for Djoliba

Good morning All!

So we didn’t blog yesterday; I got knocked out. It appears that certain responsibilities married people have, do have strong effects on them. Pause those dirty thoughts, I’m talking of loosing braids. Have you ever loosened a lady’s braids? Oh bro, It is by far, the most difficult task on earth. No jokes.

Anyway, I survived but then the cruel reminder that until the kids start coming, it’s gonna be part of my chores whenever Madam goes “a-braiding”. My wisdom will be to ensure that we explore lighter and easier hair styles for the time being. Amen.

Well guys, we ready for Match Day 5 in our Continental sojourn this season. We play Mali’s Djoliba in 13 Days in what is a make or break fixture for us. We sit in third position on the log, two points above the Malians whose qualification looks most unlikely of the quartet. To be honest, any two can still progress from our Group but someone needs an away win to help their cause.

This is why our August 19th fixture is beyond crucial. Hopefully we should be able to win our final game of the Group at home to CARA Brazzaville- it’s our first home game at the Aba Stadium and our fans should be in good voice on the day. But our forthcoming clash against Djoliba in Bamako, has everything resting on it.

The team has yet to play any more friendlies since the defeat away at Abidjan. And you would hope the management has plans of getting that sorted out in the near future because with the League in an indefinite break, Match fitness becomes a big concern. It does remind one of the gaffer’s post match conference views after that infamous game in Abidjan.

It was difficult for the players to maintain the same level of consistency throughout the game because of fitness issues,” Abdallah told the media.

“The long World Cup break is having its adverse effect on my players. We tried as must as possible to train and be ready for the game but we can’t compare that with having test games that will keep us ready and charged up.

We started the game very well and had a few opportunities to score but we were unable to convert them. We couldn’t cope for a long period because of fitness issues”.

If ever there were Grade A friendlies, now is the time to bring them on. You would think friendly games against the likes of Akwa United and Enugu Rangers could come in handy at this time. Hopefully the club can get this sorted. Staying fit for Djoliba is not debatable.

That’s all I’ve got strength for today.

Back tomorrow

‘EnyimbaEnyi

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Williamsville v Enyimba: time to show something different

Good morning Guys!

It’s a match day. Our boys will line up this evening at the Stade Robert Champroux stadium in Abidjan as we look to consolidate our stand atop the 2018 CAF Confederations Cup Group C. The kickoff is 5pm. Although some sources quote 6pm. I’d just say, have the evening free.

It’s a TV game which means we have an opportunity to watch our boys slug it out against the Ivorians. Interestingly, it is the same opponent we beat last week – thanks to Ibrahim Mustapha. A similar score line in our favor will have us singing Hallelujah on our beds tomorrow evening.

On paper, this is a Group we should have no problems qualifying from. Having watched the three other teams, I think we have it in us to dispatch them but then the last time we played away from home in the Continent, we got pummeled 3-0. It wasn’t just a bad day, it was an insipid, limp and horrible performance.

But this is a clean slate and based on the table and performances of everyone prior to this time, any kind of point away from home will put us in a strong position. To be honest, teams in our group are making it look very NPFL-ish; win at home, lose away! So any draw or point on the road means we are odds on to make it into the semis.

If we set up to defend, it will most likely come back to haunt us! if we remember how they were all over us in that first half in Port Harcourt, it’s only logical that such space and freedom on the ball in front of their home support will be impossible for us to contain. So I think we should attack but with Arsene Wenger’s handbrake on. We can get a result here.

By way of personnel, it’s unlikely Ikechukwu Ibenegbu will feature. I have no idea if he has recovered in time for this game. Otherwise the team chooses itself. Uche John paired Nelson Ogbonnaya last time out- unless Anaemena is better prepared. It’s all Usman Abd’allah’s call to make, hopefully he is inspired to make the best decisions.

Finally for today, our ThatEnyimbaFan know your club contest took place on Twitter yesterday. Congratulations to everyone who took part; from the guy who won 5K, to the guys who got a tithe of that amount as consolation prizes. The good thing is, in a fortnight, the quiz will be back. You’ll do yourself some good to keep ears open for that.

Back tomorrow and all the best to the lads this evening.

‘EnyimbaEnyi

Enyimba sign Sunday Adetunji and some exciting stuff for our blog audience

Good morning All!

We making progress, aren’t we? Baby steps maybe but some water got squeezed out of the rock. Finally we have a transfer confirmed by the Enyimba Secret Club. Where the omertà code is what governs all that’s said and done! The club has announced the signing of Abia Warriors striker Sunday Adetunji.

We did mention it on the blog a few days ago, after we learned that the Esosa deal didn’t pull through. True to their nature, the club eventually nodded in agreement. We understand that it’s a loan deal – just like the transfer of Peter Onyekachi two seasons ago. What that means is – if for some reason someone is willing to buy him, we’ll get zilch zero nothing.

But that’s ok. We don’t really care, do we? The other angle is the fact that we do look very abundant in strikers right now. Evidently Enyimba is a club founded on the basis of money – we can sign anyone out there who has ever scored a goal in his life. I can quickly count on my fingers and name 8 strikers at the club. Don’t be too surprised, it’s more or less a tradition for us.

Moving forward, we have a few innovations courtesy of the blog. This weekend, we have fans go head to head on twitter for a chance to win 5000 Naira. Yep 5K. This Saturday at about 7pm local time. We are speaking with our sponsor to make it a weekly thing but he’s yet to ok it. As it stands, it’s probably going to be every two weeks! More details in tomorrow’s blog.

Also we are introducing a special Thursday evening blogpost titled “Corner-Kick”! It’s an opinion piece and it is open to anyone who wants to air his views on any issue relating to the club. The first post will be up here on the blog later today and I’ve looked at it- you don’t wanna miss it. It’s that good!

The boys head to Côte d’Ivoire as the return legs of the CAF Confederations Cup comes upon us. I can’t possibly imagine how they have had to keep up their fitness and concentration levels with the no League action and no salaries. We just have to get a result from somewhere if we have hopes of making it into the semis. Hopefully we can rouse ourselves as at other times to see this one out.

Finally for today, if you have some free data, I’ll encourage you to get on YouTube and search for past Enyimba matches on there. I did spend sometime watching a couple yesterday and it did make me feel some good. You should too, if you can.

That’s all for today, there’s “Corner-kick” in a few hours.

Back tomorrow

‘EnyimbaEnyi

Enyimba 1-0 Williamsville

Good morning All,

Our CAF Confederations Cup campaign remains on track after we saw off the challenge of Ivorian side Williamsville in Port Harcourt yesterday. Our favorite Enyimba striker Ibrahim Mustapha got the only goal of the game just after 7 minutes, it proved enough.

The game itself was hardly a stellar show with lots of hoofing and puffing. Injuries followed the tackles (Ibenegbu was victim of one of those trampings couldn’t make it till halftime) but despite a threatening show by the visitors late in the first half, they never really did take advantage.

Was there really much we learnt from the performance? I’d say hardly. We did look unfit and on the look of it, unsurprisingly. I saw a video of the boys warming up few days to the game – it looked anything but appealing. They looked heavy, it almost looked like a group of pensioners trying to keep fit. Change my glasses for me if you think I’m being insincere.

But let’s be honest, it’s quite difficult keeping fitness levels high especially with the surrounding premises. The League had been on a halt for over a month and well, for the foreseeable future now it seems. Then it also emerged that the players haven’t been paid their salaries. That piece of information emerged after the game.

It’s two way for me. Look, I’m not a party to owing people salaries, but you can’t take that as an excuse to lower your performance in a game of this significance and magnitude. If we had lost this game, it would have been near impossible making it out of this group. The salaries will be paid nonetheless, but if your poor performance cost you qualifying from the group, you only played yourself.

The sorry state of the pitch played a part too. It’s shocking that our sports ministries at every level in the country cannot manage our facilities. Imagine how much money was spent on building that Adokiye Amiesimaka complex yet we can’t spend one hundredth of that amount to maintain it. We are not serious yet and we should be ashamed of ourselves.

Hopefully, this is the last time we get to play away from home. I hear the new Aba Stadium isn’t ready and fit to meet CAF standards with the current work ongoing there. Let’s hope it is ready for subsequent fixtures. Gotta confess though, what we have seen so far of ongoing works there is nothing short of spectacular.

But guys we won a game today and we are top to the CAF Confederations Cup Group C with six points. Williamsville and Djoliba both have four and Cara is bottom of the pile with three. We just need to go away from home and get us any kind of point. It’s a funny group and you can see from the standings, these teams would lose away and win at home. We just need some away Joy. But again we won yesterday and that’s some cheerful news.

You can see highlights of the game here.

That’s your lot today.

Back tomorrow,

‘EnyimbaEnyi

New Beginnings: Enyimba vs Williamsville

Good morning Guys,

With the small matter of the World Cup out of the way, some local Continental football resume back here at home. The third MatchDay of the CAF Competitions is upon us.

We welcome Group leaders, Williamsville of Ivory Coast as we seek some form of redemption following our 0-3 implosion last time out. I know, I know, it was that bad an experience that no one wants to even remember it but it was as bad a performance as we have conjured up in the recent past.

To be honest, there’s a lot going on with our club at this time and hopefully we would take them along in the days ahead. It’s just that I feel it was improper, continually blogging with so much pain and tragedy going on around in our country. That was a reason I stopped!

But today we have a big game that will decide our destiny in the Group. The Calabar stadium that hosted our last home game in the Continent was deemed unfit for action by CAF while our brand new Aba Stadium (more of that in days ahead), is unready. I believe you’re up to date with latest pictures.

Today’s mission is as clear and simple as it gets – only a win will do. The mystery surrounding our gaffer Paul Aigbogun should form basis of talk in days ahead but it will be interesting to see how the man in the reins right now sets up his team and subsequently executes the mission. He’s not an unfamiliar voice with the players – having been around with Aigbogun 2.0 era.

The choice of the frontmen will be quite interesting. There are whispers of fresh faces in the Enyimba camp- I doubt we would see any of them in action today but it would be interesting to see what we look like today and indeed going forward especially in attack.

The game is expected to be on Terrestrial TV – and if I find any online streams, I’ll share on my twitter handle.

Finally for today, you can see we have changed our blog URL. Yes we are now at http://www.thatenyimbafan.blog – Let’s say maybe we are ready to push out more from here – hopefully. Meanwhile we should have live updates via twitter!

Enjoy the game wherever you watch from and Goodluck to the boys.

Back tomorrow,

‘EnyimbaEnyi