Kanu Offers Support to Enyimba for Recovery Following CAF Ordeal

Enyimba Football Club’s chairman, Nwankwo Kanu, has extended his support and optimism to the team after their unexpected elimination from the CAF Champions League. The disappointment occurred when they were knocked out by Al-Ahly Benghazi in the preliminary round of the competition last Sunday, according to a report by The PUNCH.

Enyimba, who had secured the Champions League title twice in 2003 and 2004, encountered a tough challenge against Libya’s Al Ahly Benghazi. The first leg of the preliminary tie saw them securing a goalless draw in Aba. However, Al-Ahly Benghazi clinched a spot in the next round by securing a 4-3 aggregate victory with an added-time goal in the first leg.

The resilient defense of Al-Ahly Benghazi made it difficult for Enyimba to find the net, resulting in a goalless stalemate on their home turf.

Kanu, who took on the role of chairman in May, acknowledged the disappointment of the outcome but remained focused on the positive aspects. He emphasized that Enyimba had generated scoring opportunities and contested that Al-Ahly Benghazi’s superiority wasn’t substantial, given their limited shots on goal.

“While the defeat is disheartening, we need to extract positives from this experience,” Kanu commented. “We had our chances and it’s important to recognize that Al-Ahly Benghazi didn’t outperform us. They had minimal attempts at goal. Losing a match is never ideal, but I wouldn’t deem it a terrible start. Our aspiration is to progress to the group stage of the CAF Champions League and fulfill our responsibilities.”

Kanu also urged the players to shift their focus from the setback and concentrate on defending their Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) title. He regarded such setbacks as inevitable in football and stressed the importance of resilience.

“In the world of football, even the finest teams and players confront these challenges,” Kanu stated. “The key is to rebound. Our players should maintain their spirits and recognize that adversity is a part of the journey. We need to stand by them, motivate them, and guide them to improved performances in the upcoming opportunities.”

Kanu further acknowledged that, despite their exit from one competition, Enyimba still had the NPFL and the Federation Cup to compete in. He emphasized the importance of reinforcing the team by welcoming new players to bolster their ranks.

Striker Anthony Okachi shared his perspective on the outcome, echoing the sentiment that luck had played a role in the defeat. Okachi replaced Chijioke Mbaoma in the 72nd minute of the match. He commented on the formidable defense put up by Al-Ahly Benghazi, highlighting their strategy of keeping all 11 players behind the ball.

“While disappointment is natural, we need to remember that football is unpredictable,” Okachi remarked. “Our performance was commendable, considering the challenges posed by Al-Ahly Benghazi’s defensive approach. We encountered pressure but managed it well, and our fans’ unwavering support was remarkable.”

Okachi believed that luck was not on Enyimba’s side on that day, preventing them from clinching victory. He maintained that despite being on their home turf, the match was far from easy due to the formidable opposition.

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