Friday Evening Special
The victory in Kano can be compared to the sight of finding an oasis in the Sahara. The joy of bathing in the fresh spring and quenching your thirst can be likened to the aura around the blue half of Abia State.
Before the miracle of Kano, some of the fans had questioned the tactics of the coach and a good number had requested for his head on a Herodian plate. Others excused him for reasons ranging from being a new coach, playing in Umuahia as home, group stage Champions League qualification and others.
Considering only the first 10 league games of the season, this can be described as Enyimba’s worst start to the NPFL in the last 7 years. The Elephants conceded 2 digit goals for the first time in the 7 years after the first 10 games and have the second lowest points in the given period
Enyimba’s first 10 matches since 2009/10 season. (*with outstanding games)
The last two times Enyimba lost at least 4 of their first 10 league games, they missed out of the continent (2011 and 2012). This will be the first time they had not scored more than they had conceded after 10 league games. The last time they had a non-positive goal difference they finished as far as 6th. Can Enyimba bear the losses of losing out of the continent or even finishing as low as 6th?
First 10 matches for League winners since 2009/10 season. (*current leaders)
Enyimba can look at Kano Pillars’ record in 2014 and be very optimistic. Kano Pillars got 11 points (4 less than Enyimba) from their first 10 games in 2014 when they won the league title – the worst in since the beginning of the decade. Every other team (Enyimba inclusive) that went on to win the title had a minimum of 17 points in those 10 games.
The Elephants can also take a cue from the 2010 season where they won just 4 of their first 10 games but went on to win the title. In 2013, Enyimba had the worst start in these 7 years – 3 wins and 4 draws. Two of those draws were at home against Kwara United who got relegated same season and Warri Wolves. With as little as 13 points from a possible 30points, Enyimba galloped on and fell short of the title by a point.
Continental participation is now like a birth right but losing 4 points of a possible 6 can reduce the probability of winning the league title. Second is not good enough – just like in 2014 where Enyimba lost at home to Abia Warriors (3rd game) and finished a point behind winners Kano Pillars.
Unbeaten in the last 4 games, Enyimba will love to retain the title they won last year and they have shown that intent with the character they exhibited at the Sani Abacha Stadium. The positive energy from Kano has to be channelled into the next games. It is Enyimba time. It is time to move up the table.