September 24, 2011

It’s an open race, says Ukeachu

By Eddie Akalonu
Coach Tony Ukeachu began hisplaying career in Owerri as the founding captain of the defunct Spartans of Owerri. He later coached the team in their later years as Iwuanyanwu Nationale FC. He was in Aba in 2000 as Enyimba handler.

That’s why Ukeachu has predicted that the Federation Cup final between Enyimba and Heartland in Lagos on Sunday will be a very tough battle that would excite all at the Teslim Balogun Stadium. Said Ukeachu:

“ It will be a very tough match. Victory can go either way because both teams are in top form right now. They have the experience and both teams understand the importance of this type of match, particularly Enyimba going by their recent CAF Champions League performance.”

Asked to preview the final, he said, “First, they will oppose each other and contest the ball every minuter and tempers may rise in this game. But it is my hope that the players will keep their cool and play football because all eyes will be on them. People will be there to see good football. “On the one hand I foresee Enyimba attacking from the start of the game, to try to subdue their opponents because it is apparent that they (Enyimba) need this victory to boost their Champions League title hopes. They will use everything in their power to achieve this, no doubt.

“On the other hand I would also expect that Heartland will need to cool it from the beginning. They should not rush at things but use the early times to study Enyimba first without losing focus. Thereafter they can begin to unleash whatever they have in store.”

 Tyavkase backs Enyimba to keep unbeaten run at Teslim stadium

Enyimba’s David Tyavkase, has said that the club will maintain their unbeaten run at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, when they confront Heartland in tomorrow’s Federation Cup final match

“Enyimba played a goalless draw against top Ghanaian side, Ashanti Kotoko, when the stadium was inaugurated in 2007. In that same year, we played three matches in the Nigeria Football League Super Four and won the league without losing a match.

“I was in the team and we played three matches against Rangers, Wikki and Gombe United. We defeated Rangers and Wikki, then played a draw with Gombe United. ”Enyimba returned to the Teslim Balogun Stadium again in 2009 and defeated Sharks by a lone goal to win the Federation Cup,” Tyavkase, who is the most decorated player in the present Enyimba squad

He expressed his desire to win the cup despite his success with the team over the years in several competitions in Nigeria and Africa. “I was in the squad that won the 2003 and 2004 Caf Champions League as well as several Nigeria Premier League titles. My first cup success with Enyimba was in 2005, but I missed the final in 2009 due to injury.

So you can understand why I want it this time,” Tyavkase, who is the most experienced player at Enyimba said.