The Elephant has moved through the forest and the forest has felt the wrath of the Elephant. Enyimba showed they were warriors and battled to the end until victory was achieved.
The stage was set for a win for the Aba Elephants, everything worked for their good, a victory away to Djoliba of Mali – the first away win in the entire Group C, a win that brought life back to their campaign.
So against all the odds they went to Mali and conquered and in their last group match they went against a foe that inflicted on them, their biggest loss in the CAF Confederations cup campaign. It was a dicey encounter, a game that was to be played in their stadium, infront of their teeming fans after 3 years odyssey on “foreign turf”.
At the point of kickoff in front of a full house in the 20,000 capacity stadium in Aba , Enyimba were on 9 points and needed a win to qualify out rightly while their opponent CARA Brazaville who lead the group were also on 9 points but with better goals difference. Of the other clubs in the group, only Williamson of Ivory Coast on 7 points had any iota of chance to make it to the next stage, Djoliba already said their goodbyes to the quarter-final stage when they were defeated 0-1 at home by Enyimba of Aba.
The match commenced with almost a full house and the first 45 minutes showed some end to end stuff with the visitors looking to get a chance goal while Enyimba led by their captain and record goal scorer ever in the Nigerian league Mfom Udoh did all they could to get a goal but all was to no avail .
When hostilities began in the second half it was obvious that the Aba Elephants were poised to get the win and qualify outrightly without doing the abnormal mathematics. They hit the bar on occasion but CARA goal keeper stood between Mfom and Enyimba from getting a goal.
As the clock wound down, their was palpable tension throughout the stadium and everyone had their ears on the match in Ivory Coast. As at the 90th minute, it was still stalemate in both matches and in football anything can happen. All Williamson needed was a goal to knock out Enyimba from the competition while Enyimba was desperately looking for a goal that will ensure their qualification in time added.
Cometh the hour cometh the man , like David Beckham stood up in his glory days in the match against Greece, Mfom stood from 25 yards to take a make or mar freekick, the result of the freekick could determine their stay in the competition , he hit the ball so hard that it beat the goalie but as at other times the bar refused to aid Enyimba’s quest for a victory but for the first time in the entire game the Enyimba players knew their lives depended on it, made a followup to the rebound and substitute Wasiu Alalade slotted home the much needed goal that gave the Aba Elephants access to the money spinning knockout stage of the competition.
There was wild jubilation all around the stadium as the fans and players celebrated to the high heavens.
When the final whistle was blown, the jubilation was in double fold on the field when news filtered in that the match in Ivory Coast didn’t produce any late drama and it ended goalless meaning CARA also progress to the quarter finals by booking the second spot.