Enyimba International of Aba central defender Ifeanyi Anaemena says a lack of continental engagements could work in the Peoples Elephants favour as it affords the club a “great opportunity” to “concentrate” on winning the league and cup double this season.
The seven-time Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) champions are a mainstay of continental competitions and are the only club from Nigeria to have won the CAF Champions League (CCL) title, securing back to back triumphs in 2003 and 2004.
The Aba-based side made a run to the semi-final of the CAF Confederation Cup (CCC) last season losing to eventual champions Raja Casablanca 3 -1 on aggregate and following a quarter-final loss in the Aiteo Cup and the abrupt truncation of the 2017/2018 NPFL season put paid to Enyimba’s hopes of a continental campaign this season.
“It is true that Enyimba has always represented Nigeria on the continent,” the hulking defender told busybuddiesng.com, “but this time around we are not on the continent and we have only [the] FA Cup and the league to fight for so I believe it is a great opportunity for us to also concentrate on both these trophies at our hands and fight for it so that by next season you might be seeing Enyimba can be going back to the continent. So it’s more concentration for the league and the FA Cup this season yes.”
The Peoples Elephant go into the 2018/2019 season with a much-changed rooster following the departure of a number of key players during the close season.
Striker Sunday Adetunji returned to parent club Abia Warriors after the expiration of his loan deal, Super Eagles goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa moved to Katsina United on a free transfer and midfield mainstay Dare Ojo was also snapped up by Lobi Stars.
Enyimba themselves have added a number of new players including midfielder Ifeanyi Onuwa who is in
“On Sunday the league will be kicking off 2018/2019 season, every team will prepare according to how possible they can,” he told busybuddiesng.com.
“Enyimba is also preparing according to how they can and it has not been easy because a lot of players left the team and a lot of new players came into the team so the players are trying to coordinate and connect with each other.
“There has always been a high expectation of Enyimba despite that we have been playing our friendly pre-season matches to make sure that the team connect with each other. We are expecting a great victory against MFM here in Aba at home so we are expecting to win the match and from there we can kickoff. Our expectation is high.”