Enyimba coach Fatai Osho has blamed fitness issues for his side’s 1-1 draw against Guinean side Horoya AC in their CAF Confederation Cup quarterfinal first leg encounter on Sunday in Aba.
Enyimba failed to make the best of home advantage in the first leg as the Guineans grabbed a precious away goal to swing the advantage in their favour ahead of the second leg in Conakry.
The Aba Elephants took an 18th-minute lead through Austin Oladapo as they began auspiciously.
But they failed to capitalise on their superiority for the rest of the half and were eventually pegged back in the second half when Boniface Haba slotted home a 71st-minute equaliser for the visitors.
Osho said the tailing off in intensity in the second half was down to the players not being fully fit, with a number having been rushed back from injury for the tie.
The former Remo Stars coach who was elevated to the helm at the Aba Club following the sack of former coach Usman Abd’Allah said he was stumped by a lack of options to change the tide of the game.
“It’s glaring to everybody here that we are not fully fit, we have a lot of players returning after a long time and that didn’t help our course,” Osho lamented in the post-match press conference.
“It was quite glaring in the second half we did very well in the first half to some extent and in the second half, the number of injuries we have in the team is taking tolls now we have to just had to force some players to play because we were left with no choice so we were condemned to play those on ground and that really affected us.
“It is clear we can do far better than that.”
Having already won away from twice in the competition – at South African side TS Galaxy in the qualifiers and against Ivorian side San Pedro to seal qualification to the quarterfinals – Enyimba will believe they can do enough in the second leg to qualify for the semis.
The second leg of the encounter comes up on Sunday, 8 March at the Stade du 28 Septembre in Conakry.