June, 14 2023.
After steering Enyimba of Aba to win a record extending ninth Nigerian Premier Football League (NPFL) title on Sunday, Head Coach of the Peoples' Elephant, Finidi George says his sights are now set on continental glory, in the CAF Champions League.
Finidi rejoined the Super Eagles at their training camp in Lagos, preparatory to their penultimate 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier, against the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone, in Liberia, next Sunday; having also seccured for Enyimba a ticket to represent Nigeria in next season's CAF Champions League.
However, Enyimba which almost missed out on the NPFL championship play-offs in Lagos, due to the dissolution of its board, and a change in government; may still have it rough in preparing for the continent's elite club championship, unless the chairman of the dissolved board, Chief Felix Anyansi-Agwu can again intercede on the club's behalf.
After winning back the league title, they last won in 2019, Chief Anyansi-Agwu noted that the club will have to spend the one hundred million Naira prize money as prescribed by the Interim Management Committee IMC.
www.ckdmedia.ng later gathered that the IMC tied the money mainly to players recruitment, and upgrade of facilities; meaning Enyimba needs to have a Board or an interim arrangement, to anchor the recruitment of players, for both the domestic competitions, and the champions league.
Meanwhile, Chief Anyansi-Agwu has downplayed any expectation by football loving Nigerians about a club in the NPFL to win any of the CAF Inter-Club Championships, any time soon.
After many failed attempts by clubs like Enugu Rangers, IICC Shooting Stars of Ibadan and Iwuanyanwu Nationalé of Owerri; Enyimba won the then elusive Champions League trophy, back-to-back in 2003 and 2004.
But since then Nigerian club sides have struggled to replicate the success story, or even give the country credible representation.
Chief Anyansi-Agwu blamed the down turn in fortunes to the poor management of the NPFL by the LMC, inability of clubs to secure sustained funding, which also impacts on ability of the clubs to sign top talents and retain them over time.
Nonetheless, Anyansi-Agwu who as Chairman, has led Enyimba to winning about thirty (30) trophies, concluded that all four clubs to represent Nigeria on the continent, shouldn't be written off, as the resilience and power of the Nigerian spirit, are able to propel them to scale all the hurdles.