Enyimba’s African Football League Journey Ends Against Wydad AC

Enyimba’s African Football League Journey Ends Against Wydad AC

Enyimba faced a formidable challenge against Wydad AC in the African Football League, and their exit became inevitable after a 1-0 loss in the first leg. The North African stadium proved a daunting battleground for the Aba club, making this a Herculean task from the start.

Wydad surged ahead with a three-goal lead in the first half, courtesy of Ayoub El Amloud, Jamal Harkass, and Yahia Attiyat Allah. Despite a goalless second half, the hosts secured a 4-0 aggregate victory.

Solace Chukwu, Chief Editor for Pulse Sports, expressed, “It was to be expected, really… Enyimba never rose to the challenge of presenting as a prestigious African side.” He pointed out organizational shortcomings and underwhelming off-season recruitment.

Enyimba’s journey in the CAF Champions League also met a premature end with a 0-0 draw against Al Ahli Benghazi of Libya in August. The People’s Elephants fell short of the one-goal advantage needed to progress, following a 3-4 loss in the initial leg.

This marks the first time since 2015 that the Nigerian champions have been eliminated in the preliminary round of the tournament. They remain the sole Nigerian club to secure back-to-back titles in 2003 and 2004, during a period of North African dominance.

Temisan Okomi, a sport journalist/presenter, highlights the challenges faced by Nigerian clubs: “We are just not good enough… the talent pool has decreased, the coaching pool is way smaller, and the structures are getting worse.”

Regarding the notion of involving former footballers in administration, Okomi cites Jay-Jay Okocha’s tenure as the Delta FA chairman, noting that it did not bring the desired improvements.

Chukwu advocates for a comprehensive overhaul: “The way forward is to rip it all up… Define what we are aiming for and prioritize a working structure over unruffled feathers. Create proper football clubs with ties to their home communities and untether them from government, prize professionalism, invest in the new generation of coaches while also creating a proper pipeline in that respect.”

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