ENYIMBA'S ARAB JINX JOLTS KALU
Two Champion's League Cups at the expense of North Africa, that is the Enyimba report. An incomplete story though, until you realise that the Elephants may yet beat an Arabian host in regulation or extra-time.
Abia State's former governor, Orji Uzor Kalu, sees North Africa as a region of contrasts, full of highs and lows,where Enyimba won its first big prize,and has also had its worst moments.
'There is this North African jinx. In 1,020 minutes over 11 games, since 2003, Enyimba has not beaten an A rab clubside outside Aba in regulation or extra-time. The only time it won against Esperance in Tunis,was through penalty kicks,'Kalu said. Enyimba is billed to play Raja Casablanca in Morocco 10 days from now, the same club that beat it 1-0 in 2005 even with 10 men in a game Musa Aliyu missed from the spot.
Coach was Okey Emordi, who is in charge again. Statistics show that in 2003, the Aba team lost twice to Ismaili in Ismailia, the first a 6-1 drubbing, Nigeria's worst Champion's League away record. Enyimba drew with USM in Algeria. Twice it fell to Etoile in Sousse in 2004, a draw at full time came against Esperance.
'The year 2005 produced same story. For the very first time,the Aba Ngwa Boys lost home and away in an international, no thanks to Al-Ahly. In Cairo, Enyimba scored first through Atanda Shakibu,yet lost 1-2. In 2008, against Al-Hilal in Khartoum, the Elephants again scored first, courtesy of Cletus Itodo.
It did not save them a 2-3 loss. Same year, Ahly beat them again in Cairo1-0,'Kalu pointed out.
As Enyimba synchronise their watches to fly north again, Kalu's words are enough for the wise. Enyimba could as well go for a first victory inj the Maghreb.