Enyimba stand-in coach Fatai Osho says the People’s Elephant will strive to work harder and bounce stronger in their next match after losing their NPFL matchday-16 home game 2-0 to FC Ifeanyi Ubah (FCIU) on Sunday in Nnewi, Completesports.com reports.
Osho depicted a look of a toddler whose piece of bean cake had been snatched by a vicious looking dog moments after his charges were floored by their Nnewi rivals.
Osho was downcast after the NPFL matchday-16 fixture as the home side recorded their fifth straight win against the eighth-time champions, who extended their winless run in Nnewi to five games.
The former Remo Stars gaffer however, played down the effect of the defeat on his players ahead of this weekend’s CAF Confederation Cup Group D fixture at home to Agadir of Morocco.
“Obviously, we can’t help ourselves if we continue to dwell on self pity,” Osho snapped.
“We just have to pick up our pieces, put ourselves together and dust our faces and brace up for the task ahead of us which is the Confederation Cup match against Agadir of Morocco.
“Confederation Cup is a different ball game compared to the domestic league or what is generally regarded as Oriental Derby. No doubt, it was painful to lose here [against FC Ifeanyi Ubah] because we came here wanting to win, knowing the rivalry and importance of victory which gives mental strength going into a big game like the continental match.”
Osho would go on to pay glowing tribute to FC Ifeanyi Ubah, saying despite the obvious fact that Enyimba were the better side, the home side were more adventurous and showed more zeal for victory.
“First of all, I have to congratulate FC Ifeanyi Ubah. They played to win and they got their win. They were so adventurous and there was that obvious zeal in them to win and they did just that, congratulations to them,” Osho said.
“But on our part, we were by far the better side. You could see the way we started the second half which forced them (FCIU) on the back foot.
“We could have capitalized on that to come back into the game with an equalizer. But we missed all the chances. At least, there were about two or three like that. If we had made the most of those opportunities, the result would have been different.
“Having lost those scoring chances, we got punished when they scored their second goal which again was as a result of an ‘elementary error’ on the part of our defenders.
“As a defender, you don’t mark an opponent like that inside your penalty box. It was too elementary, defensively and it has cost us some goals, it was most uncalled for.
“These were ‘soft’ goals, if I must put it that way. And you can’t be doing that and expect to get points.”
Enyimba’s defeat in Nnewi was their third straight loss, raising concerns that the two-time African champions’ blip was caused by injuries to key players.
But Osho reasons otherwise.
“That Ifeanyi Anaemena and Nelson Ogbonnaya did not play is not the point here. They are important players and we would have loved to have them play match in, match out,” he said.
“Every one of our players is important to us. As we speak, we have about eight (8) key players (out with injuries).
“Enyimba, as a team don’t need to complain about injuries. Even if 10 players were out injured, we can still play as a team.
“Every player in Enyimba came in on the basis of his performance and quality in his former club before coming over to Enyimba.
“So, the fact that someone is out is not and should not be an excuse. Any other player can fill the void. It’s just unfortunate that we lost today and we have put that behind as we brace up for the next game against Moroccan side, Agadir,” coach Osho stressed.