Enyimba boss Fatai Osho has rued the lack of ‘tactical discipline’ from his disappointing players that cost them all three points against Akwa United on matchday 12 in the NPFL on Wednesday but refused to blame fatigue for their lethargic display in a very poor first half.
The Aba Elephants, fresh off vanquishing fellow NPFL side Rivers United to make the group stage of the CAF Confederation Cup thought they had secured all three points against visiting Akwa United as they led in added time from Austin Oladapo’s 54th minute strike.
But with time running out, Philip David struck in the 4th minute of added time with virtually the last touch of the game to shock the home side and give the Promise Keepers their first point in Aba since 2018.
An extremely disappointed Osho felt his players showed naivety and ‘paid dearly’ for failing to manage the game better towards the end, saying the dropped points was akin to losing in added time.
“Towards the end the tactical discipline was never there, we had the chance to hold on and play out the added time,” Osho told the club’s media after the match.
“We can hold on to this ball and play it around and start taking the ball to space and the time will go out that way. That was not to be [and] we paid dearly for that. I mean, losing at the last kick of the game, is very, very painful.”
While it was a painful outcome and the result was not what Osho envisaged as the game wound down, the reality was that Kennedy Boboye’s side were full value for their draw and Osho admitted Akwa United were unlucky not to have left Aba with more than one point.
The visitors were much the better side in an excellent first half and created the better chances and were denied what appeared a pretty strong claim for a penalty.
Osho admitted to being surprised by his team’s ‘shambolic’ start but stated that their exertions at the weekend against Rivers United on the continent ‘can never be an excuse’ for their limp display seeing as their opponents were also in action in the league.
The former Remo Stars gaffer carpeted his team for being the ‘complete opposite of ourselves’ in the ‘worst 45 minutes we have ever played in this team’ and promised to carry out an inquest into their poor start to identify and correct the problem.
“I was a bit surprised at that because the team we played also played at the last weekend that we played. That can never be an excuse, something must have gone wrong terribly, we want to go back and try to look at what could be the reason for that,” Osho said about his team’s poor first half showing.
“That first half was shambolic, let me put it that way, the worst 45 minutes we have ever played in this team, I mean they didn’t look like our team at all, we were a complete opposite of ourselves we didn’t look like ourselves, we were even lucky not to have conceded goals in the first half because the opponents had all the chances to have scored but we never came to the party in the first half.
“What could be wrong is what we’ll try and look at. Was the rest enough? And other some other factors we have to look at that.”
The result leaves Enyimba, who have two games in hand on their rivals, in third place on 22 points, one point behind leaders Kano Pillars with Akwa United three points and three places behind the Aba Elephants.