Now that we have an ultramodern stadium…

I am elated by the news of our stadium coming back to us in a brand new state. I used the picture for my laptop wallpaper, a colleague saw it and asked whether it was Stamford Bridge.

We’re looking all professional again. But something tells me that the joy we experience now will soon give way to the status quo. Pardon my pessimism.

I am even tempted to cast and bind the idea the normal Nigerian way. But no. We should talk about this. Really.

For the records, I am a huge supporter of the club, but I speak out when things aren’t in shape and that’s my intention here.

That last time I was at the stadium, I beheld strange sights that should never exist in a modern stadium, nay club of our pedigree and I will highlight a few.

The Restroom debacle:

In the final match of the 2014 season where we hosted Kano Pillars, I noticed we had no known rest rooms for the fans in the various stands.

I saw a visiting fan relieve himself beneath one of the stairs that led to that stand by the right side of the VIP stand.

Taking a tour through the back side of the stands, I saw mounds of dried human shit. Disgusting!

“Now that our stadium is modern”, we need neat rest rooms with working water supply for the fans to relieve themselves at each of the stands.

Ticketing system:

Imagine visiting Stamford Bridge and touts with flaming wraps of marijuana stuck between their two first fingers are selling you sub-standard tickets amidst shoves and chaos. That’s a normal scenario in our stadium during match days.

Now that we have a modern stadium, can we modernize our ticketing system. Let the fans purchase their match tickets online before-hand and bring the evidence to the stadium during match days.

Crowd management

If our stadium is an 18,000 capacity stadium, should we sell tickets to over 20,000 fans? That’s of course not including the ones that came in by knowing the guy at the gate.

We can do better by selling tickets according to the number of empty seats, then provide viewing areas within the stadium when the seats are gone. Then again, there should be proper and accurate accountability for these tickets. It’s about time we really stepped up our game and standardized things.

Sponsorship

It’s really baffling how a club of Enyimba’s status with a constant appearance on the Continent is unable to convince businesses to sign up with the brand. I may not know the efforts going on underneath, but the one thing we all see shows that we have failed in that regards.

Now that our stadium is modern, we need to hire a team of marketing professionals to set the ball rolling. Avenues should be set in motion to generate revenue for the club.

Our online platforms

I like many others, ordered for the club jersey on the online store since 2015, up till this moment that jersey is still AWOL.

Now that our stadium is modern, we need a befitting and working online store to go with it. One that will collect payments and deliver. One that doesn’t go AWOL.

Most pages on our website are still empty. The media team should get to work. If content is their problem. I am available.

See you later. ***Hands MIC over to @EnyimbaEnyi

This blog was written by Mr. Sopuru Egbodo. He is a content creator, web manager and social media guru. Please follow him on twitter via @theSopuruEgbodo

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Enyimba stadium makes history and somebody will win our 5K this week

Good morning Brethren,

The countdown is on as we ready to return home. It’s happening folks, it is so happening and today I’ll like to throw in some recent discovery that came to me a couple of days ago.

So we were in our Enyimba Whatsapp Group when the contractor handling the Enyimba stadium told us our Aba Stadium was the largest playing surface that FIFA had ever approved. It didn’t make a lot of sense to me and I’ve asked someone who did to explain it to us.

Before he does, I’ll like to give the question for our ThatEnyimbaFan giveaway this Friday. Remember your correct answer qualifies you for the finals on Twitter this Friday. Please submit your correct answer to thatenyimbafan@gmail.com. It’s important to heed the instruction. Any other answers anywhere else is disqualified.

Which of the following Nigerian greats never coached at Enyimba?

a. Daniel Amokachi

b. Augustine Eguavoen

c. Stephen Keshi

d. Amodu Shaibu

All the best.

So it’s 1.10am, I decided to check my tweeter page before I shut down for the morning as it were, unfortunately I got into this explanation about Enyimba’s Pitch Size and that was how i was hooked.

Earlier on Monday, there was this issue about the pitch size of my darling club Enyimba and how it holds the record of “the biggest playing surface” approved by FIFA/CAF.

In all honesty I wasn’t concerned and of course I waved it off as sham, but done with the days job, I wanted to be busy so I dug  into the earlier discussion.

Maybe, just maybe it could be true. You ask how I came about this? Relax, so you can digest this.

The first question that comes to mind is…where is the biggest playing surface in the world located? Now remember I am not talking the biggest stadium (in terms of capacity) in the world, that would be Rungrado May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea.

I am talking pitch size, playing surface, however you understand it…..so in Spain, the biggest stadium in my findings is the Martínez Valero stadium (Elche) with a pitch size measuring 108m x 70m, and In England the biggest is The City Ground (Nottingham Forest) 105m x71m and Hillsborough (Sheffield Wednesday) 106m x 69m, while in Italy my findings showed it is San Siro 105m × 68m and on and on.

But you ask what is Enyimba’s pitch size really? the contractor in the person Mr Egbi Egbe AKA Moni-Michelle says the pitch size is 110m x 74m making it the biggest I have seen so far in my short research…may be I will need to do more.

So is it safe to say Enyimba has the biggest pitch size approved by FIFA? Till I see another dimension bigger than that of Enyimba, may be we just have to make do with what we have.

Will that translate to Enyimba “flogging” some teams silly?  I sure do hope so. But in the meantime, can the people’s Elephant just come back to their fortress?

‘EnyimbaEnyi

Exciting new idea but same old poor quality

Good morning All,

We might have to do a little none Enyimba stuff today. Not just because there’s not much by way of Enyimba news but as stakeholders of the game, it would be wrong if we don’t highlight something wrong that needs to be changed or better still, put paid to. Let’s delve right in, shall we?

A couple of days ago, I got here on the blog and praised the initiative of the University’s football league. We talked about how something fresh and exciting was being birthed. It’s called a League and it’s sponsored by Stanbic Bank and Indomie and on the day of the launch, we saw a few DSTV guys hanging around.

Fast forward, and this League has kicked off. The disappointment that greeted me turns heavier than the excitement I had. First and foremost, the games are not on TV. I’ll start with that. With the opportunity of no local football on our screens, isn’t this quality content someone can take advantage of?

Ok so no TV, how about live streaming? It does not cost the world. We lament how out of touch Football administrators in this country are. If you want people to get interested in your stuff, make some noise and put it right at their faces. That’s no rocket science, is it? Do we even learn? Can we not at the least copy the successful systems?

Every college in the US has their games out there, from Lacrosse to Football, boys and girls alike. If not on TV, there are livestreams. Same with the MLS- the US version of the NPFL. Have you ever watched the MLS? It’s the most comical thing you would ever see, but guess what? They don’t care. It’s out there and despite being less quality than the European leagues, people still watch it.

The other option would be to have social media updates. Just like…you know, the European leagues and the NPFL do. But the University’s Football Leagues official handle simply posts results when it feels like and asks followers to predict scores. Are you kidding me? People follow you for a reason, they need information. Why not feed them this information?

Am I being too harsh? Maybe but if you’re not ready to up your game to the basic standard, get off the stage. I did see pictures of the pitch where the Unilag and Uniben game took place. My village playground is better. Couldn’t the organizers have sourced better pitches? At least for a display to the world that you do mean business? But no, it’s the same Nigerian effect. The excuse we quickly pop up for every low quality delivery.

We have to start training ourselves for better. Excellence is not a skill, it is an attitude and as a country, we must be committed to excellence. It is the least the world expects of us and we must begin to expect same of ourselves.

#ThatEnyimbaFanGiveaway returns tomorrow. You wanna win 5K? Don’t miss tomorrow’s blog.

Till then,

‘EnyimbaEnyi

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

Preparing for the future; the Goalkeeping situation at the club

Good morning All,

Not much going on and nothing new to report; how soon before we start discussing prayer and fasting or would #OccupyDalung produce results faster? Having a blog under these circumstances is the second most difficult task on earth. Lord help me.

Well, as I sat wondering what to write, I got thinking of our goalkeeping situation yet again. We currently have four senior goalkeepers – Fatau Dauda, Theophilus Afelokhai, Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Friday Achimugwu. I’ll love to drop my thoughts on all four. I have freedom of speech on my blog, don’t I?

Fatau Dauda was signed by the club in December 2016 and he came well experienced and well travelled. It was a signing that didn’t and still doesn’t make a lot of sense, not because I have any personal issues with Dauda, but because there was Afelokhai who was still at the club. And in terms of quality, there’s not so much to choose between both of them.

Dauda began as a sort of an away day charm for us, winning us decent points in those early games till somehow the honeymoon ended. Dauda became first choice home or away. Strangely, rather than Afelokhai rise up to the challenge, he sort of threw in the towel without much of a challenge. He seemed quite ok with playing second fiddle and playing from the bench.

Then the big shock, we stepped up and signed Ikechukwu Ezenwa- Super Eagles goalkeeper the season after that. I won’t say much about him till the end of the season when we make a decision as we clearly cannot have all three of them at the club. Hopefully the club has a plan, they should, shouldn’t they? There’s no way all three can remain at the club.

But It’s the fourth man in the fire I’m more interested in because unknown to a lot of people, Friday Achimugwu is not just the youngest but he is the most talented goalkeeper in our team. He is fourth in the order but that is because for some reason those making decisions are more about the hype than taking care to observe talent, quality and longevity.

Achimugwu is clearly the one for the future and it’s about time we started planning with that in mind. You observe the attitude of the trio ahead of him in the pecking order (especially in training) and you see those basic elements of hunger and positive attitude which keeps a player on their toes and constantly improving is missing.

I don’t know what Achimugwu’s contract situation is and how much longer he will stay with us, but I’ll long for him to man our posts for a very long time in the future. I think he has the quality to become one of the best goalkeepers in this country. And like my reports on Ikouwem, this is an honest, sincere and unbiased post. And for the records, I’ve never had any conversation with Achimugwu before.

I’m gonna nicely and quietly tuck in my “I told you so” blog post for the future.

That’s all for today,

Back tomorrow

‘EnyimbaEnyi

Are we spending too much on NPFL player salaries?

Good morning All,

Oh I felt it. The pain of Sunday’s defeat and in no small way, the blog felt it too. There was almost nothing happening here on the blog all through yesterday with only a handful of the visits we are used to. I get it, I wish I can help it. Clearly I can’t. I need to start fasting and praying for better times at the club.

So what’s for today? Something quite delicate and I tell you, it took me a great deal of reluctance to actually get myself to writing this blogpost today. It’s been a trend for a little while, spanning into years and into the history of our club. It’s Enyimba and her rash and largely overhyped signings.

I felt the nod from most of you especially those who have been around the club for a while. We are very spendthrift. We would start off every season with tonnes of players and before long, we find out that most of them are the wrong signings. To make matters worse, they usually are on very crazy salaries too.

I’m ruffling some feathers today, no doubt but I think it’s time someone spoke of it. We have some players who earn over half a million every month. Some much closer to that million mark. And when you compare this salary with reciprocal game time /output on the field of these players, you’ll be grossly disappointed. We have a player who is on about 700K who have not made up to five starts this season!

To be honest, this did not start this season. It’s been up for a while – for instance, we just sign up anyone who has the record of having scored a goal at some point in their lives and at the end of the season, they can only boast of two or three league goals. We had one sometime ago, a certain Raphael Boumsong who went an entire season without any league goal.

Why do we have strikers on bumper salaries who can’t offer us 7 goals in an entire season? Many have suggested this goal-drought is diabolical – many say there are things that happen only at the club but to be honest, I think that’s bullshit. Anyone meddling with juju and voodoo is only digging a grave for himself. It’s not a curse – it’s actions and consequences.

I think as a matter of urgency, the club must reevaluate her transfer policy and the salaries they hand out. And while I’m talking Enyimba today, this extends to every other NPFL club. Someone needs to sit and ask if paying a footballer an amount the regular bank manager won’t make in a month is even wise.

Yes I understand Football is a short career and you’ll need to get as much as you can while you still got your legs but performance-related salaries is a win-win for everyone. It will push players to optimum levels which in turn reflects on the results the club posts. Our condoning mediocrity is the reason why our players can’t pass European trials.

It also will put a spotlight on coaching and coaches. Every coach should have a dossier on each player on the team- a picture of their strengths and weaknesses and how they can within a specific time frame improve that player. There are lifestyles that inhibit peak athlete performance – if players know their performance is related to their pay check, they will make smarter lifestyle choices for themselves.

I hope we can fix this situation otherwise we will keep boasting of the largest paycheck in the league yet posting mediocre results.

Back tomorrow

‘EnyimbaEnyi

Competition: Who wants to win 5K?

Good morning Guys!

It’s Friday and another week has quickly sped past. For us on the blog, we’ve successfully completed a week – and knowing it’s been no show for a while, we can say we have made some progress. Again, with the things going on around here, we can fully say that things are looking in the right direction.

There hasn’t been any update on when the League is resuming but you will want to believe it is more of sooner rather than later. But then, isn’t it a microcosm of the whole society; where we have proven in virtually every sector that we are not able to take care of ourselves? It is sad. Pitifully sad.

The team is in Abidjan Ivory Coast as we ready to face Williamsville in Sunday’s CAF Confederations Cup Group clash. For those who don’t know, or those looking to make their way there, the venue is Stade Robert Champroux and kickoff time is 6pm local time. More on that Sundays morning post.

The big news today is that we have concluded plans for our Head 2 Head Test-your-knowledge-on-the-club quiz. The idea is simple – we have a sponsor who is willing to throw in 5K Naira for a fan every two weeks. So in a bid to reward our fans who just come on here daily to read our ranting, this is for you.

How to qualify: We will throw in a question for the week and pick the top three fastest answers. Answers must be here on the blog in the comments section to be eligible. Half answers won’t be tolerated and your email address must be correctly written in the space provided for emails in the comment section. That’s the only way we will contact you.

Eligibility: This competition is open to all Enyimba fans. All you need to do is to answer correctly the question posed here, answer must be in the comments section. Half answers is no answers. The first three answers will head to the finals, where they will have five questions to answer. The winner gets the 5K!

Question for the first stage: What was the scoreline in Zachary Baraje’s last match as Enyimba head coach?

The preliminary winners will be announced on tomorrow’s post and the finals will hold 7pm Nigerian time on Saturday. All the best to everyone.

Meanwhile we hear Christian Obiozor is on trials with Raja Casablanca. I don’t know how true that is but I’ll be glad if he gets a move that furthers his career.

Corner-kick started yesterday. Perhaps you missed it, you might wanna take a look here.

That’s all we got today!

Back tomorrow,

‘EnyimbaEnyi

Emerging clues on when Enyimba will return home.

Good morning All!

When I write this, it does feel like I’m writing to a congregation of Enyimba fans and well wishers. Yet it’s just one person at a time who reads this. One person at a time. So maybe I shouldn’t be saying “Good morning All”, it should be “Good morning my guy”!

It’s Monday morning and I’ll try to keep this simple and straight. In the past few weeks, pictures have emerged of our brand new stadium. The reaction has been immense on social media especially on twitter where retweets, likes and such conversations have continued.

The relief is almost tangible, after what has seemed an eternity, from November 2015 after we has just won the League, going back home is very much within sights. It’s been long coming; the work had dragged and stuttered and the Aba faithful had been weaned of their team for nearly 3 years.

And while this has been a very difficult and disappointing wait, the images that have surfaced of the current state of the pitch are somewhat soothing. Then the next barrage of questions is the when? When do we return home? When can we have the team playing infront of their fans again?

Well, a couple of days ago, some news article emerged where a Commissioner for Information was quoted that the pitch will be ready for use by September and no longer in July. It was a little disappointing to hear especially seeing that the club would go to the Adokiye Stadium to play Williamsville.

Few days later, another post surfaced, this time by the contractor handling the job. He says to disregard the earlier post and that the CAF Confederations Cup against CARA will be played at the new stadium on August 29th. August sounds closer to July than September but look again, 29th August is 3 days away from September the 1st.

Today is 23rd July. In 9 days, it will be 1st of August. And toward the end of August, we should be “home and dry” according to this new information. It could get into September and while it’s disappointing, it still isn’t beyond what we can handle.

The thing is, redemption is getting closer and closer by the day. We can literally see the end of looking for where to rent.

Meanwhile, I think it’s about time we started to pray and fast and protest the no show of the league. Some unscrupulous humans want to hold the football community in Nigeria to ransom. May everyone reap a harvest of their evil- everyone at their level. Amen.

That’s your lot,

Back tomorrow

‘EnyimbaEnyi

Well, Enyimba does have a new head coach

Good morning Guys,

So let’s talk a little about our new gaffer. It’s no longer news that our dearly beloved Paul Aigbogun has left his post at the club. Unceremoniously as his second coming, the club towed a path that totally made a mess of the initial decision to hire him.

Make no mistakes about it, I do love Mr. Paul Aigbogun. I think he’s a smart man and probably the most educated of the coaches in the league. As a human too, he appears a very nice person and in the early days of his second missionary journey here, there were some obvious changes especially in how he related with the media.

Someone suggested that he used Enyimba to get the Under-20 job (He’s currently the National under-20 Coach) and while that is subject to debate, the big questions are around his appointments – both the first and the second. The first is logical, his Warri Wolves side having pushed us to the penultimate game of the season. They also did play some very good football and he was the logical choice to replace Ikhana.

But that appointment didn’t work out as planned. Enyimba was playing their first (of three) seasons away from Aba and the journeying about plus a CAF Champions League Group stage run took some toil on the team. It all went badly and the club ended the season trophy-less for the first time in a long long time. We finished without any kind of Continental football promise the next season with a worst finish in ten years. He was shown the door.

Gbenga Ogunbote came in and with the team based in Calabar, he did his best to steady the ship. He didn’t play a very attractive brand of football but he got some decent results and ensured the club finished in the third and final Continental place. The shock was that the club had no plans to retain him and eventually didn’t renew his contract. Their replacement? Paul Aigbogun, again. Expectedly, there was some reaction, most of it negative because the previous season’s performance.

Shockingly, he got off to a flier and notched up some decent results. Then the under 20 job came and that was it. There were whispers of some sort of ruckus with the powers that be. So maybe he was fired or he just resigned or there was some mutual termination, somehow the infamous reunion got cut short.

But the club didn’t think announcing the departure of their head coach was necessary. The fans don’t deserve to know – they don’t deserve to be told something as important as a change of the head coach. Funny but acts like this make fans actually wonder if they are truly connected with this club as they feel they should be. These sorts of acts go a long in affirming that the top guns at the club lack an understanding of the true value of this club. This, ladies and gentlemen is very sad!

Well guys, there’s a new man at the helm of things at the club. He is Usman Abd’allah. You must have seen him on the dugout two days ago when we played Williamsville. And he’s been around for a little bit – from the start of the season I hear. Hopefully we can get more details off him and some interview sometime.

My word count is up for today. Let’s talk again tomorrow.

Till then,

‘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