7th August, 2010
Enyimba International of Aba are in pole position to lift this year’s Nigeria Premier League, NPL Super 4 tournament holding at the Ijebu-Ode Stadium, Ogun state, Nigeria.
The People’s Elephant, as Enyimba are fondly called came from behind to defeat Kwara United 2-1 to grab maximum six points from yesterday’s second match.
Ekene Iwuorie and Kenneth Anyanwu scored in the 70th and 87th minutes respectively to restore Enyima’s grip on the match. That was after Enyimba conceded a first half goal.
Kwara United’s striker, Kelvin Kpakor flipped a trickish but powerful shot, which beat goalkeeper John Lawrence with just a minute to the break.
The 44th minute goal however came as the tonic needed by Enyimba, who ealier missed a chance to score through a penalty in the 38th minute.
Auta Philip, who stepped forward to take the penalty, hesitated and kicked lazily into the waiting hands of goalkeeper Wasiu Ibrahim.
Kwara United, led by the most experienced coach in the Nigeria Premier League, Kadiri Ikhana, dictated the pace of the match with brilliant moves from the blast of the whistle.
But, the Ilorin Afonja Warriors went to sleep throughout the second half when Enyimba bounced back to seal their second consecutive victory at the poorly attended tournament in Ijebu-Ode.
The Elephant need just a draw in tomorrow’s last match against Kano Pillars to win the trophy and confirm they are worthy champions of the country’s domestic league.
Sunshine, who play their final game against Kwara United tomorrow, are second on the Super 4 table with three points from two matches while Kwara United and Pillars are third and fourth respectively with a point apiece.
Enyimba finished first among the top four clubs at end of 2009/2010 NPL regular season last month with 70 points from 38 matches.
But the overall champions of the Nigerian league are determined by the Super 4 tournament, which also serves as tune up event to set the stage for both the new league season and preparatory ground for the clubs representing Nigeria in the 2010/1011 CAF Champions League and Confederation Cup.
Enyimba skipper, Okey Odita said the players had a tough game against Kwara United.”We had it rough against Kwara, especially after they scored first. But our determination paid off at the end of the day, we are happy for the rising profile of Enyimba and hope we finish up with a great match against Pillars on Sunday”, Odita said.
For Coach Ikhana, his Kwara club still need some time to blend. “We had a good match but this, being my first match in charge means I have some works to do before the kick off of the new season”, Ikhana, who led Enyimba to win their first CAF Champions League trophy some years back said.
By Tunde Oyedele, Ijebu-Ode