*By Diegwu Nwankwor*
Enyimba FC will enter the 2019-2020 Nigeria Proffesional Football League season as domestic kings supreme but will be aiming to do much better than just retaining it’s league title. Few would have given Enyimba a chance at winning the tittle following the departure of of players such as Ikechukwu Ezenwa and top scorer Mfon Udoh (only to name a few). In addition, the People’s Elephant struggled to seal their ticket for the Championship Playoffs only doing that on the final day of the regular season.
However, the club rose to the occasion during the Championship Playoffs losing only one match out of the five to win a record eighth title.
Usman Abd’Allah and his players know that the expection from their fans and as well the whole footballing community is for the People’s Elephant to not just win retain the league but as well do well in the Federation Cup and the CAF Champions League. This definitely means that Enyimba must be at its premium best throughout the season so as to meet the desired targets and expectations of the season like we know the season can be very unforgiving to the slightest mistake which Enyimba experienced in the Federation Cup where it got eliminated by . A match which most people attribute the defeat to negligence.
However, Enyimba has definitely been the most consistent team in Nigeria since the turn of the milenium and are on the verge of making more glamour to its already pace setting history.
Should Enyimba retain its title this season, it will be Championship it will be it’s 9th title (currently on 8th which is already a record) but in addition to that Enyimba may became the 1st Nigerian team to play qualify for the CAF Champions League group stages for the 10th time, a competition the Enyimba faithfuls dream of winning again (Enyimba are still the only Nigerian team to win the CAFCL). However, what the fans will be aiming for is to see an all conquering and domineering team especially on the domestic scene.
The season has already started for Enyimba with the CAF Champions League playoffs where the People’s Elephant face a tricky 2nd leg away from home against Al Hilal of Sudan. The 1st leg at Aba ended in a goalless draw but you can never write off the Nigerian Champions. They love doing things the hard way.
The man given the responsibility to mastermind Enyimba’s bid for another NPFL title is Usman Abd’Allah. The Kano born tactician led Enyimba to the title last season in what was also his 1st full season incharge and he is not ignorant of the fact that reciprocating the exploits of last season will not be an easy feat.
However, Abd’Allah is confident that his team will compete on all fonts.
“Getting to the top is difficult, but staying at the top is even more difficult. However, I am confident we have all it takes to win the league.
“The players are even more motivated than last season, they want to win more trophies and also the coaching staff. We will try to also make an impact in the CAF Champions League. As you know it’s a special tournament for the supporters and we will try our best in it” Abd’Allah told DiegwuSports.
Enyimba in it usually manner are not resting on it glory as it has moved swiftly to recruit some household names in the league to boast their chances of having a good season.
One of the incoming players is Emeka Atuloma who has joined Enyimba from Akwa United. Atuloma believes that he and his teammates can win every competition they will play in this season.
“I believe we will not only win the league but also the Federation Cup and the Champions League. We are highly motivated and I am sure with the coaching staff we have, we can win the league again” Atuloma told DiegwuSports.
1. *Olufemi Kayode* (Goalkeeper from Lobi Stars).
2. *Emmanuel James* (Defender from Plateau United Fc).
3. *Victor Mbaoma* (Striker from Remo Stars Fc).
4. *Obi Sampson* (Striker from Abia Warriors Fc).
5. *Abiodun Adebayo* (Central Defender from Abia Warriors Fc).
6. *Martins Usule* (Striker from Katsina United Fc).
7. *Timothy Danladi* (Defender from Katsina United Fc).
8. *Emeka Atuloma* (Midfielder From Akwa United Fc).
9. *Cyril Olisema* (Midfielder from Akwa United Fc).
10. *Anayo Iwualla* ( forward from Delta Stars Fc).
11. *Daniel Dakwah* (Asante Kotoko Ghana).
12. *Emmanuel Ampiah* (Delta Force)
13. *Abass Mohammed* (forward Asante Kotoko, Ghana)
14. *Austin Opara* (defender from MFM)
*Source: Enyimba FC*
Like every club, there has been some departures and Enyimba is no different. The People’s Elephant has parted company with some players who were part of the championship winning team. Most notable of them are Joseph Osadiaye, Freedom Omoforman and household name Ikechukwu Ibenegbu.
*Full list if Departures:*
Ibenegbu Ikechukwu – to Rangers International
Nasiru Sani – Kano Pillars
Freedom Omofoman – Lobi Stars
Joseph Osadiaye – Lobi Stars
Fatau Dauda – unattached
Chinedu Udechukwu – Plateau United
_Source: Enyimba FC_