Captain of the newly crowned Glo Premier League champions, Enyimba Football Club of Aba, Chinedu Udoji, tells Completesportsnigeria.com’s ADEBOYE AMOSU that they are looking to dominate the continent after winning a record seventh title…
Congratulations on your league success, it must have been a sweet one for you guys after coming very close last season?
Yes, it’s not only last season that we were close to winning the title. We have fought so hard a number of times without getting to win it, but we kept pushing hard and this season we were able to achieve our objective.
What does this historic seventh title mean to Enyimba as a club?
It’s not something I can describe. It’s a great thing to achieve I must confess. Since I joined this club, we have won the Federation Cup a number of times, but the main one (the league) had always eluded us.
If you look at the history of domestic football in Nigeria, you can easily pick Enyimba as the best club in Nigeria with what the club have achieved in recent times.
And now, we have further proved to everyone that we are the best by winning this seventh title.
Former champions Kano Pillars won the title for three consecutive years, do you think Enyimba can emulate that or even surpass that feat?
At the moment, we don’t want to talk about that. What is important to us now is to savour this sweet victory.
It’s been a tough season for us as our rivals Warri Wolves, Sunshine Stars, Wikki Tourists really pushed us very hard.
We want to play the last game, enjoy the holiday, then we can start thinking about football again.
It’s important for us to celebrate our success and also enjoy it.
How far do you think Enyimba can go in the CAF Champions League next season, considering the big clubs that you guys will come up against, like TP Mazembe, USM Alger, Al Ahly, Esperance and Co?
Honestly, it’s going to be a massive task to win it again, but it is something that is achievable.
We have a coach (Kadiri Ikhana) who is widely experienced. He has won the Champions League with this club in the past which is good for us.
We also have the players to do it. Like I previously said, it’s going to be tasking, but with belief, hardwork and luck we can rule the continent again.
We not only want to be the best club in Nigeria, but in Africa.
How much will the experience of losing out so early in the competition this year help you guys next season?
Well, the major thing that affected this season was that the Glo Premier League didn’t start on time.
That is one important thing the LMC should look into ahead of next season. We were not adequately prepared going into those games and it affected our performance.
Most of the clubs were in better condition than us because their leagues had been on for long, before the start of the competition.
We didn’t have that opportunity as we did not play enough competitive games ahead of our participation.
How would you describe the level of officiating in the league this season?
It’s better than what we have seen in the previous years. I’m not saying this because we have won the league. The statistics are there to buttress my point.
We have won five times on the road this season and some teams have come to Aba to pick points against us.
Then there is Nasarawa United and Wikki Tourists who have also done well in their away games.
Nasarawa United like us have done well on their travels this season. They ended Pillars’ unbeaten streak in Kano and also beat Sunshine Stars in Akure.
Though we can still do more in this area, I believe things are quite better than what it used to be.
The majority of the clubs in the Glo Premier League have struggled to pay their players salaries this season, how do you think this situation can be corrected?
It’s not an issue I would want to talk about. All I can say is that the situation is different at Enyimba and that has reflected in our performance on the pitch.
On a final note, what do you think the League Management Company can do to change the situation?
I’m a footballer and not a football administrator. The LMC are doing their best and I believe we will get it right soon.
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