By Onochie Anibeze
â€¢ Lift FA Cup
When Enyimba placed third on the league table, their club chairman, Felix Anyansi-Agwu, promised their fans that they would make up with the FA Cup. The cup, he said, would assuage the hunger of their fans for a league title they felt they had everything to win.
They fulfilled their promise at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos, yesterday. Musa Mustapha ensured that with his 35th minute goal off a free kick by Andrew Igado. It was a brilliant goal that capped a beautiful football evening. The turn out really showed that Lagos remains a great home of football, a position that Warri also has a tradition to contest, going by their passion.
Thousands of fans visited Teslim Balogun Stadium and Lagos State, the hosts of the event, had a good picture that should guide them when the FIFA Under 17 World Cup begins this October.
Governor Orji of Abia State had announced a winning bonus of half a million Naira to each Enyimba player and paid for many buses to head to Lagos from different centres. It was a decision he would not regret. The fans were there to cheer Enyimba. Sharks had theirs too. After Enyimbaâ€™s goal, Sharks showed the stuff coach Kadiri Ikhana is made of. They contested every ball and moved forward more. They had some chances just like they created even before Enyimba scored. But Enyimba looked better with the ball. They looked slightly more organised and even had two chances to increase the tally.
That would not happen but Mustaphaâ€™s goal was enough to put them in the history books of Nigerian football as the champions of 2009, a feat they first achieved in 2005. In the past decade, Enyimba have remained the best Nigerian club and one of the best in the continent. They return to Aba proud of their achievement this year and hoping to make impact in CAF Confederation Cup next season.
Great credit to the players, coaches Austin Eguavoen, Ike Shorunmu and Ifeanyi Onyedika. Great credit too to the main man, Anyansi-Agwu, the man ex- international Sylvanus Okpala described as the best football manager in the country their differences notwithstanding. Anyansi would walk taller than his height last night. He was savouring the victory, the one that he predicted and which came true.