Enyimba’s Emmanuel Anayo Iwuala: Upcoming Left Winger On My Mind

By Daily Sports on February 10, 2020

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I skipped the usually crowded newsroom duties to join other fans to watch Enyimba International FC of Aba in their NPFL match against host, MFM FC of Lagos at the Football Temple in Agege last week.

Let me be honest with you that l was in Aba sometime again but lost appetite to watch the team’s game because of the side’s inconsistency ripples of late.

However, my zeal was fired up again after the team’s sparkling performance in faraway Algeria where it played her then crucial second leg game in CAF Confederation Cup against an obviously difficult North African club side. This was the team that held Enyimba near hostage in first leg in Aba where the homers managed to win 1-0, fueling fears that Nigeria’s representatives may not survive the Algerian Club side challenge.

The sterling outing by Enyimba prompted and rekindled my interest to watch the boys that squeezed water out of stone hence I stormed Agege Stadium courageously telling whoever cared to listen, that worst-case scenario, the NPFL defending kingpins will pick a point from the proceedings.

I made up my mind for the worst and one thing kept telling me to go and if for nothing, to go and see how the team’s line up looks like since the season began. I arrived at the Football Temple, made entry and pronto I took my seat where Sports Journalists stay to watch games.

As both sides took each for size, I saw a clean and more purposeful Enyimba commanding the middle of the pack and I kept talking to no one else that if the team continues this way anything positive could happen.

And we all knew was the result of the game. One particular player that came in the second half that caught my fancy hands down, played from the left-wing and can easily and safely be described as a game changer.

He is Emmanuel Anayo Iwuala. He plays in both wings on the field with all ease. He caught my eyes in that epic game against MFM FC in Agege Stadium during their NPFL showdown where he showcased from the left the kind of stuff he is made of. As a young player, if he refuses to be distracted, we will soon come home to roost like the days of wingers like Felix Owolabi, Segun Odegbami, Adokie Amasiemeka, Emmanuel Amuneke, Findi George etc in our national team and their respective club sides then. Mildly put, he tormented the defence line of the MFM cutting in sharply and swiftly. Like a hot knife on the butter, he created many problems for the defence line of the host team. His dazzling and precision judgment quickly reminds one of the days of super left-wingers like Dr. Felix Owowlabi and Emmanuel Amuneke when the senior national used wings to launch devastating attack on opponents.

I saw such an image on the young lad (whom I learnt after joined the CAF Confederation Cup quarterfinalist) fitting into such role if well managed. I must also point out here that I could not speak to the lad after the game as he vanished into the thin air as the curtain was drawn.

His sense of the game and what he does with the round leather game remains superb. He played to instruction and made the visiting team to gain control of the match as Iwuala’s swift dribbles caught MFM defence line always napping throughout the game. In short, they had no answer to the young player whose speed can be compared to equaling a 100 metres athlete.

He was a delight to behold. He was applauded by fans many moments he dazzled past the often confused defence network of MFM FC. His contribution in the victory of his side further confirmed that teamwork pays and it is one of the strongest tones of the game of football.

One of his further attributes is that he is never selfish with the ball and above all never held the ball longer than necessary but passes to his teammates.

To cap it, the Enyimba team played well and determined as ever, never to leave the Football Temple Agege empty-handed and judging again from how they started the game right from the centre  informed the direction the boys shaped the all entertaining league game without rancour

The home side showed full compliments of great sportsmen. There was no bitterness when the visitors got her leader which proved decisive at the end of the day. The Lagos based team tried to launch herself back into reckoning but the resilient spirit and form that saw them turn back Algerian crack team right in front of their home fan was very much alive and it paid off handsomely too.

We are already aware of the quarter-final opponent of the Nigerian flag bearers. It is no other team than the dreaded squad from Guinea, Horoya FC, a veteran club in the African club football championship.

Horoya FC is one of the top teams in Guinea and has enough experience in the continental club terrain. If the pedigree of their opponent is a parameter to the premise, it then meant that our Enyimba FC already has its hands full.

Horoya is no pushover and preparations must start in earnest if the Nigerian team wants to raise its head above water after the two-legged encounter. 

It will be battle of the titans and  for any of the sides that fails to make to the fullest its home advantage, the second leg would not only be tighter but  would be like the proverbial camel passing through the eye of a needle.

Therefore the first leg will be played in Aba Nigeria on March 3 while the second leg comes in Guinea in two weeks’ time. It will be now or never games for both sides. The dicey nature of this quarter-final pairing remains one of such to watch because of the pedigrees of the teams on centre stage.

It then called for vigilance and eye-opener for the management, technical crew and the players to put their acts together early enough so as to hit the bull in the eye right there in Aba so as to make the second leg, in Guinea in two weeks, a mere formality.

Now the onus is on Lukman Osho to deploy yet again his magic wand in Aba, handsomely and sustain it decisively in Guinea during the more crucial second leg showdown.  

Osho would need more than luck to overcome Guinea and move forward. Hard work, focus, determination, concentration and purposeful display would remain the cardinal goal to get past this dreaded opponent from Guinea. It won’t be easy for the teams.

Truth is that Horoya will not leave any stone unturned or leave any (i) undotted. It will be tough both on paper and in the field of play.

As the clock ticks, Daily Sports would endeavour to bring this Enyimba/Horoya to the front burner, if nothing else, to remind Nigerian teams of the uphill task ahead. We promise to keep a tab on this because the Aba former CAF League Champs is the only team still flying the nation’s flag though in the second tier of the continent club football.

Join us on our busy social media handles TO discuss the above. Meanwhile, keep shooting hard, till next week!!

Source Daily Sports

Posted February 10, 2020


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