Nigeria’s only remaining flagbearers in continental club football this year, Enyimba FC, scored two second-half goals to amass all three points in their CAF Confederation Cup opening group tie against Djoliba AC of Mali in Calabar on Sunday.
Isiaka Oladunjoye and substitute Augustine Dimgba got the goals that put smiles on the faces of the Enyimba faithful at the U. J. Esuene Stadium.
There were plenty of missed opportunities in the first half, with Freedom Omofoman, Abdulrahman Bashir and Mustapha Ibrahim the major culprits. However, the visitors also had their chances, with Cheikh Niang, Boubacar Traore, and Mohamed Cisse all testing goalkeeper Fatau Dauda.
Having eliminated another Nigerian club, MFM FC to reach the group stage, the Malians stormed Calabar with high expectations, but they met a People’s Elephant that was also very physical, very determined and very clinical when it mattered.
“We did just what we had to do to pick the three points. Those points were very important to us, and now, we can confidently look forward to our next match in Brazzaville.
“We always knew Djoliba to be a strong team, considering that they eliminated MFM FC. We prepared very hard and I thank God that we got the goals that mattered,” said Paul Aigbogun, head coach of Enyimba.
After the Day 2 games scheduled for 16th May (which will see Enyimba travel to Brazzaville to play CARA and Djoliba host Williamsville), the remaining matches in the group phase will be suspended until after the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup finals.
With Sunday’s result, Enyimba sits atop Group C of the campaign, ahead of Williamsville FC of Cote d’Ivoire on more goals scored. The Ivorians pipped Club Athletique Renaissance Aiglons of Congo, Enyimba’s next opponents, 1-0 in Abidjan also on Sunday.