CAF CC: An Away Win That Tickles
By Ufuoma Egbamuno
Wining away from home is always a great feeling for any club. Especially a Nigerian side. But winning away from home on the continent just adds that extra feeling. One that can energises the team to do more exploits.
For Enyimba Football Club, waking up on a Monday morning just after a comprehensive 4:1 aggregate win over South African side TS Galaxy must sure feel good. Especially after a hard-fought 2:1 win away from home in faraway Nelspruit, South Africa.
For the manager, Usman Abdallah, the win is a “morale booster” for his side even as they get set to do battle on two fronts: domestically and on the continent.
“It is a win which is a morale booster to win an away game most especially in the continent,” he says with a smile on this face – the kind of smile you only get when you know you will get a pat on the back for a job well done.
And a job well done Enyimba actually did. Two second half goals from defender Daniel Darkwah and Martins Usule was all the Aba Elephants needed to put themselves in the driving seat after their 2:0 win in Aba last week.
Though the home side pulled one back, it just wasn’t to knock off the confidence of the former CAF Champions League winners who held on to reach the group stage.
“Qualification is the most important thing to get into the group stage and getting into the group stage strong like this gives the players a lot of confidence in pursuing this competition,” coach Abdallah insists.
“I very happy,” the manager finally admits after his initial comments made it look like he was being modest. The 45 year old Nigerian league winner was quick to revert to type though with his seeming modest approach
“It is not about the result or whether or not it is a win or lose, it is the qualification (which) is the most important thing.”
But for one of his players, qualifying into the group stages is just the start of a mission. The target is all about winning one of the titles that has eluded the Elephants.
“The target of the team is to make sure that we go for the cup because the last two seasons we played in the semi-finals,” an excited Ifeanyi Anaemena says. “We were expecting to reach the final but we couldn’t.”
The 27 year old was quick to add that “the target of the team is to make sure that we go for the cup because the last two seasons we played in the semi-finals.”
Anaemene also adds that he feels “great to have won away” because according to him, “some of our fans are saying that we cannot win away from home.”
Enyimba were joined by Enugu Rangers who beat Benin Republic side ASC Kara by a single goal and progressed on the away goal rule after a 2:2 aggregate score-line.