Kanu, Finidi, Ekwueme sing victory songs as Enyimba fly out to Libya for Al-Ahly SC clashPublished: August 19, 2023
Two-time African champions Enyimba FC on Saturday afternoon flew out to Benghazi to begin their CAF Champions League campaign against Al-Ahly Benghazi FC of Libya.
20 players and 11 officials departed the Murtala Muhammed international Airport, Lagos aboard Egypt Airline.
Speaking ahead of the tie, Enyimba Chairman, Nwankwo Kanu admitted that although it won't be an easy task to beat their Libyan counterpart on home soil, Enyimba would however scale through going by their level of preparedness.
"It's my first international game with Enyimba and it's a special outing for me.We are going to treat it and every other game like a cup final regardless if it is away or at home," the former Arsenal forward who is prided as Nigeria's most decorated footballer of all time declared.
"It's not going to be easy in Benghazi because there are no pushovers in this competition.Besides, we will be playing in front of their home fans.
"That notwithstanding, we are definitely going to give our all to ensure we come out victorious tomorrow."
Papilo as he is affectionately called by millions of his fans expressed gratitude to Enyimba fans in Nigeria and across the globe for their emotional support since he took over as the club Chairman.
Kanu was particularly grateful to Governor Alex Otti for his massive support and trust in the team even during the most difficult times.
"His Excellency Governor Alex Otti is a great football lover. His love and support for the beautiful game has been massive.
"It would certainly be instrumental to the success of Enyimba not only tomorrow but also in the near future.
"I remain grateful to his Excellency and the good people of Abia State for this show of love."
Enyimba head coach, Finidi George will be trusting the affairs of his team with new players as some of his trusted old legs have left the club after the expiration of their contracts.
With the departure of Emeka Obioma, the league’s highest goalscorer last season, Enyimba would be trusting other legs to get the goals coming.
The experienced Enyimba team are aware of the need to be focused on and off the pitch in order not to fall for the shenanigans customary with the North African teams.
"Our mantra is full concentration and once we achieve that and follow through with our game-plan, we will get a positive result,” the former Ajax winger assured.
In the same vein, Sporting Director and erstwhile Super Eagles midfielder, Ifeanyi Ekwueme expressed confidence that the reigning Nigerian League champions will get the much-needed victory against their host.
"We want to start the competition on a good note, so the team will not toy with this game. It would be taken with all seriousness, to make the return leg a formality.
"The boys are fired up following the payment of some backlog of unpaid salaries and match bonuses by Governor Alex Otti, they are in high spirit and raring to get the job done in Benghazi,” Ekwueme posited.
The contingent is expected back to Nigeria on Tuesday. The encounter which is slated to hold at the 11,000 capacity Martyrs of February Stadium will kick-off at 6pm Nigeria time on Sunday.
The reverse fixture will hold at the Godswill Akpabio international Stadium, Uyo on August 27.
The winner of the contest will face either Coton Sport Garoua of Cameroon or Cote d’Ivoire’s ASEC Mimosa in the next round.
Remo Stars, the other Nigerian flag bearers in the Champions League are also starting their campaign away from home as they face Medeama FC in Ghana.
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