There was a palpable buzz in the air at the revelation by Chairman of Enyimba Football Club, Felix Anyansi-Agwu, that materials for the renovation for the Enyimba Stadium in Aba have arrived the country.
The two-time African champions have been estranged from their formidable fortress in Aba for nearly two seasons due to crucial rehabilitation work and regrassing of the pitch by the Abia State Government. Consequently, the People’s Elephants have played home games on various grounds, including Umuahia, Port Harcourt and, this season, the U.J Esuene Stadium in Calabar.
However, thanks to the commitment and tireless effort of the Abia State Government and the management, concrete plans are afoot for the return of Nigeria’s most successful club. There is now a timeline as well: it is expected that Enyimba will kick off the 2017/2018 campaign playing once more in Aba.
“The materials for the stadium have come in,” the Chairman revealed in an address to the team Friday, “and it would be good for us to return to Aba with the title. The people of Aba would then welcome us with joy.”
He elaborated, while speaking to the press, following the impressive 3-0 defeat of Niger Tornadoes at the weekend, praising the tenacity of the State Government in a harsh economic climate.
“I keep commending the Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, for his commitment,” said Anyansi-Agwu. “It is not easy. The reconstruction came at a very difficult moment: when the contract was awarded, the dollar was at a particular level; subsequently, it has shot up, but he is still committed to it.
“It might also interest you to know that the materials for final laying of the grass have arrived. So, the contractor has given the signal: as soon as the container is cleared, the job will be completed. We are very hopeful that the team will start the new season in Aba, come next season.”
He also seized the opportunity to reiterate his belief and confidence in the coaching crew, led by Technical Adviser Gbenga Ogunbote, to deliver on the mandate laid down by the club. A quest for an eighth league title hit a bump with last weekend’s defeat to Akwa United in Uyo, but there remains an assurance in the resolve of the team to peak at the right time going into the final stretch.
“I love coach [Ogunbote], and we are working together to ensure that he succeeds. His success is mine as well.
“We have given him more leeway than any other coach who has worked here in my time as Chairman, because we believe in his abilities,” the Chairman concluded.