Enyimba defender Ifeanyi Anaemena says he is “certainly sure” the 1-0 deficit to Rahimo FC can be overcome easily by the Peoples’ Elephant although he says playing in a closed stadium without the support of their fans would “somehow” affect the Aba side.
The Peoples Elephant welcome Burkina Faso team Rahimo FC to the Enyimba Stadium for today’s 4pm kickoff in the second-leg of the CAF Champions League preliminary round.
The Burkinabes enjoy a slim advantage after a 1-0 win in the first-leg victory in Ouagadougou a fortnight ago and would hope to pull off the improbable by progressing to the next round at the expense of two-champions Enyimba.
And though, Anaemena concedes that football often throws up a lot of improbable results, he is “certainly sure” today’s encounter against the Burkinabes will go according to script.
“We are very confident of overcoming the result, it’s not a huge margin for us to overcome,” the 27-year old told busybuddiesng.com.
“Despite [the fact that in] football anything can happen but we are certainly sure that we are going to move to the next round.”
Two-time champions league winners Enyimba have recruited aggressively after clinching a record-breaking eighth domestic league title in anticipation of a deep run in this season’s continental campaign.
The Aba side have strengthened in virtually every position with head coach Usman Abd’Allah bringing at least twelve new players whilst maintaining the core of the team that won an eighth league title.
And while most of the newly recruited players weren’t on parade in the first leg, Anaemena believes they will prove crucial as the season progresses and says it is only a matter of time before everything falls into place for the entire squad.
“Yeah, there are lots of new players in the team and we are trying to blend together and play as a team,” he said.
“It happens every season in Enyimba that most of the seasons they let go the old players and bring in the new ones so it is a matter of time for the team to blend together and take to shape and to continue the race.”
CAF’s decision that today’s game be played behind closed doors as a result of issues with the floodlights at the Enyimba Stadium was unexpected Anaemena says.
The atmosphere generated by the fans will be missed and not having anyone to cheer the team is “somehow going to affect the team” the defender concedes.
But notwithstanding the situation, the hard-tackling defender says Enyimba will do “everything possible” to win with a healthy goal margin.
“We never expected the game to be played behind closed doors,” Anaemena told busybuddiesng.com. “It was surprising when the information got to us and I know it’s somehow going to affect the team because when our fans are cheering us up we know how motivated we are to play the game.
“But we believe that by God’s grace even without the fans we are going to do everything possible so that we win with [a] good goal margin.”