- Published on Sunday, 10 May 2015 06:54
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By Promise Etim .
in Aba, Enyimba International are up against league leaders, Giwa FC, a side that turned their bogey opponents last season beating the former champions home and away in the Glo Premier League.
Giwa was then one of the four newly promoted teams to the Premier division and Coach Khadiri Ikhana was saved the blushes by Cameroonian import, Raphael Buomsong's 53rd minute goal in the semi-final stage of the Federation Cup which they went on to win. Interestingly, Ikhana had initially reached a deal to manage Giwa but after watching them play away to Kaduna United walked away from Jos only to surface at Aba with Enyimba.
The twice CAF Champions League winners saw their two match winning surge checked last Sunday in Nnewi by Gabros with a 2-0 defeat that sent the Peoples Elephant tumbling from third place to seventh but Coach Ikhana does not seem unduly fazed about the team claiming a continental ticket as he says it is too early for predictions.
As the former champions prepare to host the leaders, Ikhana rued last Sunday's defeat but brightened up with the probable return to first team list of Olympic team's Peter Onyekachi, one of their season’s new recruit who was away with the national team on international engagement.
After winning 1-0 in Jalingo courtesy of Mfon Udoh’s strike, Enyimba returned to Aba in a fierce goals battle with Sharks that ended in a 3-2 win for the Peoples Elephants. That win catapulted them from mid table to top three but in Nnewi, Gabros rolled back the surge to the top.
www.npfl.ng caught up with the Coach and asked him if this will be the season Enyimba would watch others play on the continent.
His response was, "It is too early to talk about who will win the league and who will finish second and third. The League is so young you still have more than 30 games to play, before the league ends".
Ikhana who also won the CAF Champions League with Enyimba in 2003 however said they will challenge for the title despite some of the defeats already suffered in the first seven Match Days.
"We will do our best to recover on time for our next game. We will also work on areas we have noticed weaknesses. We hope to improve". Ikhana said.
Onyeakachi made a substitute appearance in Nnewi for Ikhana’s side and the coach was impressed by his contributions though they failed to score nor curtail the Nnewi side.
"It is good to have Onyeakachi back to the fold. His absence due to International engagements has affected us. I believe his return will be very significant in the coming weeks. He will help take the pressure off Mfon Udoh and the rest of his colleagues", Ikhana said with visible signs of relief etched in his mien.
The Giwa jinx will be a test of this resolve.
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