Enyimba Coach Fatai Osho has acknowledged his side’s good fortune to still be in the Champions League but says there’s no pressure on his team ahead of their first round, first leg tie against Sudanese side Al Merrikh.
Enyimba’s progress to the first round was sealed after a 2-1 aggregate win against Burkina Faso side Rahimo, the second straight season the Aba Elephants have beaten the Burkinabes in the preliminary stage.
Leading 1-0 from the first leg in Ouagadougou, the expected blitz against Rahimo in Aba failed to materialise as Paper Sibo Ware cancelled Austin Oladapo’s opener to leave the visitors a goal away from eliminating the Aba Elephants.
Osho said his side should have never put themselves in that position and blamed goalkeeper Femi Kayode’s “school boy error” for Rahimo’s goal.
“I think the turning point was the goal we conceded, it was out of nothing. A school boy error from the goalkeeper, I don’t want to blame him but I believe he’s more mature than that and could’ve done better. At that moment, 1-1, any goal for them, they’re through, we’re out,” the former Remo Stars coach said.
Just like last season, Enyimba’s progression at the expense of Rahimo sets up another tie against a Sudanese side.
The eight-time Nigerian champions lost to Al Hilal last time out, a goalless stalemate at home followed by a narrow 1-0 defeat in Omdurman.
And ahead of their first round, first leg against Al Merrikh in Omdurman on 23 December, Osho while insisting there is no pressure on his side, revealed the team have resolved to not allow a repeat of last season’s loss in the first round which meant a disappointing descent to the Confederation Cup.
“Al Merrikh are just like another match, we don’t have to put pressure on ourselves,” Osho said.
“I mean, it’s a collective decision that we have no business playing the Confederation Cup this year and we still keep to it.”