Enyimba head coach Usman Abd’Allah was full of praises for Dakkada FC after his team went down 1-2 to the Nigeria Professional Football League newcomers in an intriguing Matchday 8 game decided at the Nest of Champions in Uyo on Sunday.
Abd’Allah’s wards thought they had rescued a point from the game courtesy of Victor Mbaoma’s fine finish five minutes from time – after Utibe Arit had given the hosts the lead ten minutes earlier – but Utibe found the back of the net once again in stoppage time to condemn Enyimba to their second league defeat of the season.
A somber Abd’Allah spoke to www.npfl.ng shortly afterward and quite admitted his side met a well-oiled machine.
“I think the opponents played well,” began Abd’Allah.
“I like the guts of a new team in the NPFL and sometimes apart from losing, you have to be happy because I think our football is developing in Nigeria if you can see teams like that doing well for the first time.
“I think credit should go to the coaches because they played well,” he added.
The hosts were in firm control of action in the opening half an hour with Enyimba contented with keeping a good shape to keep their less glamorous opponents at bay.
Dakkada should have gone in front though in the 10th minute but team’s topscorer Isaac George scuffed his effort wide after he had been played onside by a hesitant Enyimba defender.
The defending champions then almost scored against the run of play just before the half-hour mark when young winger Gabriel Orok drove home an effort after a counter-attack but goalkeeper Vincent Edafe saved his effort and a follow-up by Victor Mbaoma.
Enyimba became markedly better in the second half but the composure of their hosts shone through in the end with substitute Arit netting either side of Mbaoma’s effort though the Caleb Esu led Dakkada rode their luck after Enyimba substitute Anayo Iwuala was denied by the post three minutes from time.
Abd’Allah was obviously unimpressed with the manner at which his team conceded, branding the goals “stupid”. In fairness to him, they were avoidable goals. First, goalkeeper Olufemi Kayode fumbled Imo Obot’s free-kick to Arit’s path for the opener in the 75th minute while his defenders should have done much better than affording the attacking midfielder so much space and time inside the box deep into stoppage time.
“Today, a lot of things happened (to Enyimba), the goals I was expecting, they couldn’t score it and we conceded very very stupid goals.
“I am very unhappy with the goals we conceded and the manner with which we conceded them, even though some of the players here are playing just for the second time in the league, we have a lot of injuries so not many first-team players came but that is the essence of having a strong squad,” lamented Abd’Allah
Up next for Enyimba to right their wrong is a midweek clash with Lobi Stars at the Enyimba International Stadium on Wednesday while Dakkada make a long trip to Katsina United.