BY GEORGE ALUO
ENYIMBA chairman, Felix Anyansi appeared unruffled after his side lost at home last weekend in Port Harcourt in the very first match of the CAF Champions League group stage.
The Peoples Elephants was beaten 0-1 by top Egyptian side, Zamalek in a game Enyimba threw away several begging chances, especially in the first half. The waterlogged pitch of the Adokie Amiesimaka Stadium did not help matters for the Nigerian flag bearer as her players simply could not express themselves, just like the Egyptians.
Speaking to Saturday Sunsports exclusively after the match, Anyansi who led the club to her back to back victory way back in 2003 and 2004 said starting badly is no big deal as the club had in the past weathered such storm.
“Yes we may have started badly but I want to tell you that no body should pity us. This is not the first time this is happening to us in this CAF Champions League campaign. Anything it happens this way, we survive it. In 2003 when we broke the jinx for Nigeria, virtually everybody wrote us off when we started by losing 6-1 to Ismaili of Egypt. But at the end of the day, we got to the final and won the cup. So tell Nigerians not to pity us, we will bounce back. The mini league stage does not start and end with one match.”
Next Game against Sundown
“Sundown went away and won, who says we can’t do the same in South Africa. We are going to prepare well for the game in Jo’Burg. It is a match we can win and bounce back to reckoning. We will take a look at the mistakes made in the game against Zamalek and correct them before the match against Memolodi Sundown. We will re double our efforts. The defeat to Zamalek should serve as a tonic rather than demoralize us. Though some people would today be laughing at us, but it is not the end of the road for us. We have been challenged and we will surmount it and come out of it better.”
Playing in Port Harcourt
“Losing this game has nothing to do with Port Harcourt. We have been winning here. We started the race here and we have been winning, so this one off defeat shouldn’t become an issue. You can see we dominated the game but conceded an early goal no thanks to a mistake on the part of our goalkeeper and in this game, mistakes do occur. We didn’t play badly, but unfortunately we lost. That is football for you.”
Enyimba Stadium not being ready
“It is taking it tool on the fans in particularly. Its not easy travelling over 40 to 50 kilometers to watch your team play, especially with the kind of bad roads we have. But our appeal to them is to be patient. The Enyimba Stadium would soon be ready. The government is not keeping quiet over it. The government has started a good job because the pitch was really bad. About 75 percent of the job at the stadium has been done and all that is needed is for the contractor to lay the natural synthetic pitch. I m sure we will return home before the end of the group stage. I agree there is nothing like playing in your base. If we had played in Aba for instance, I don’t think the rain would have messed up the pitch as we experienced against Zamalek.”
As I said earlier, we are still very much in the race. We are not in anyway demoralized. We will overcome this setback of losing our very first game at home and go all the way.
Source : SunOnline