Anaemena cautious of Rayon Sports threat despite Enyimba’s favourites tag

By George Akpayen

Ifeanyi Anaemena is growing into a solid defensive leader in the backline of two-time CAF Champions League winners Enyimba and the centre-back now hopes that he can put in another massive shift to help the People’s Elephant march into the semis of this year’s CAF Confederation Cup at the expense of Rwanda’s Rayon Sports.

But Anaemena is not carried away by the fact that the seven-time Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) champions are favourites going into Sunday’s contest after securing a 0-0 draw in the first meeting in Kigali last weekend.

The former Giwa FC man acknowledged that a 0-0 result leaves the matchup with Rayon Sports “very open” and he knows that they will have to be at their best to keep the Rwandan outfit at bay.

However, Anaemena knows there is no room for error as he wants the People’s Elephant to get the job done in Aba in order to secure a semi-final spot.

“The truth is that this game is still very open,” began the Enyimba defender.

“We are very happy we our performance so far after the first leg in Rwanda but we know that this game has not been won just yet because that 0-0 in the first game means that we are more like starting afresh. So I expect Rayon Sports to come here and give their best.

“But as a team we are ready for them, and we are also confident, not over-confident because at this stage of the competition any team can hurt you if you underrate them. So we will play like the result from the first leg does not matter as we don’t want to disappoint our fans.”

HOME GROUND MOTIVATION

Talking of playing in front of their supporters, Anaemena is happy that Enyimba are back in Aba after more than three years of using grounds in Calabar, Umuahia and Port Harcourt. He believes that the 12th man is key in driving them to ambitious heights in Africa’s second tier club competition.

“Having the chance to play in front of our fans for the first time in a few years is good. Remember some of the players are playing at the (Enyimba) stadium for the first time and now they understand how passionate the fans are, and why we need to always win matches as much as we can.

“Playing in front our supporters again is good for us. You saw the effect of that in the last game (at home against CARA Brazzaville), so we are looking to our supporters to back us when we play on Sunday,” said the Enyimba vice captain.

Anaemena joined the People’s Elephant in 2014.