Some factors are peculiar to the way anything is done in this country and we must respect that. So, until the elections are concluded next weekend league football is on hold. Thankfully the international break gave us something to cheer. Ahmed Musa does not pop-up with the odd goals everytime; maybe he doesn’t choose the venue but don’t mistakenly suggest he doesn’t decide the occasion. Again after another wondergoal from Musa we failed to get a win in South Africa. That said, the game “trended” not just for the “rivalry” but for that moment of magic, one that gets you off your seat with reckless abandon and that can only be conjured by the most capped Nigerian (43) on the day. Although, we have now drawn our last 3 games against the South Africans, you get the feeling their confidence is high up there.
The return of Odion Ighalo.
Odion Ighalo still hasn’t settled in, but you get the feeling that a little more time is all he requires to be prolific for the Super Eagles. In the first half of the season, he managed only 4 goals but at the turn of the year the wizard in his boots awoke with 13 goals from 24 shots – that is less than a goal from 2 shots – and 14 chances created for his teammates. Taken, Ighalo is not in the class of Cristiano or Messi and he’s probably not enjoying a rich vein of form like Harry Kane; but it isn’t just form, until his move to Watford last summer he scored 35 goals over 2 loan spells at Granada and wether or not he now plays in the championship what matters is the stats and he has justified it.
Nigerians storm North Africa
Garba Lawal, Julius Aghahowa, Micheal Eneramo, Obinna Nwaneri and Emem Edouk. They all have one thing in common, Espérance is the first foreign club they all played for and it was a success. Now, add Bernard Bulbwa to this rich list. Remember him? Just weeks ago he wowed us all with a superb with first touch that set-up a “take that’ finish at the final of the AYC. Surely Espérance won’t miss out on another big thing coming out of Nigeria eh?
Emem Eduok? Dolphins surely miss him and they haven’t enjoyed the services of Christian Pyagbara (who is supposed to be his replacement). But he’s scored 5 goals for Espérance already and looks like just what they need in their title surge.
When Osas Ighodaro joined Raja Casablanca (losing finalist at the 2013 FIFA Club World Cup) it barely made headlines, no thanks to Emem Eduok’s transfer controversy thankfully he has settled in real quick at Morocco. He scored on his debut (vs CS Sfaxien), scored again on his competitve debut and Ah! He scored a good goal at South Africa against Kaizer Chiefs just 9 minutes into the CAF Champions League clash. Well, it decided the game.
“And where is Peter Ebimobowei” a friend who is now interested in the league asked me. “Well, he’s doing fine in Egypt”. Although the word “fine” is relative; he scores but can’t stop picking up injuries. Today the club doctor Khaleed Mamoud confirmed he will undergo a “medical examination and rehabilitation”. Looks like he’s sustained another muscle strain.
Enyimba, pride of Nigeria?
“Enyimba are not playing well” analysts say but they have won all 3 games in the continental scene and are finely positioned to progress in the CAF Champions League. Infact, one of the attributes of great teams is their ability to churn out favourable results even when they are not playing at full strength.
Regardless of the cocky and really laughable statement of Mehdi Toulan that he “did not play 10 of my first team players in Aba. I am talking about extremely outstanding players who we left behind in Cairo.”
“That game against Enyimba was prosecuted (with) reserve team players. Some of the players in question are injured. The others have to serve in the military in Egypt,” Toulan told supersport.com.
Enyimba can check the Egyptian league table and find Smouha languishing in 12th place, 7 points above relegation places and more convincingly, they can check through the video tapes of the game again and see how their own wastefulness and not the tactical or solid defensive gameplan of Smouha cost them a bigger win margin.
Smouha lack the experinece to compete at this level and will be playing behind closed doors. Enyimba only need to feel at home and maximize their precious advantage. Its time to see another Nigerian team make it to the final of the champions league. And as their supporters chant “Enyimba Enyi”!
Article by: Tolu Olorunmoteni