‘Every Team In The Group Should Be Under Pressure’
Enyimba International Head Coach Fatai Osho says the Nigerian club are ready to face Orlando Pirates in the CAF Confederation Cup tomorrow night, knowing they have to win to stand a chance of qualifying for the quarter-finals. No team is 100% assured of their spot yet, and all four could still make it.
Pirates currently lead the group, with Al Ahli Benghazi two points behind in second, while Enyimba are third, three points behind the leaders, while ES Setif are fourth. All teams are technically still able to qualify, and no one is assured of a spot in the last eight yet.
Pirates though are in the driving seat, and a win or draw will ensure their spot. But if Al Ahli beat ES Setif, and Pirates lose to Enyimba by a margin that is bigger than the 2-1 win Pirates attained in South Africa, Enyimba would qualify ahead of them on the head-to-head rule.
So much will depend on the match between Setif and Al Ahli. Setif though will know that if they beat Ahli, they could progress if Pirates win or draw. If Setif win and Enyimba wins, the Nigerians and Pirates will go through. But should Setif win and Enyimba draw or lose, Setif would leapfrog Enyimba and Al Ahli and go through.
“Every team in the group should be under pressure because every other team in the group still has a healthy chance of qualification, so you don’t go to sleep at all because you know you have to work hard on the last day to earn your qualification,” Osho told the club’s media department.
“So that shows every team will be up and doing, and that’s a tremendous pressure when you are four and two have to go.”
Osho says while they have a few players who have returned from injury, he won’t be rushing players back into the team.
“We have a lot of players coming back but then the match fitness might not be there and so we won’t be in a hurry to bring them back because some have been out for several weeks, after one or two training session you don’t rush such players back into the line-up and we have to be a bit patient with them. For players who have shown extra readiness to play, maybe one or two can come in.”
Osho also says playing at night will be good for the football match, as the heat won’t affect either team.
“It’s a good one for both teams because the weather will be fine at that time; it will be good for both Enyimba and Pirates, we won’t stress ourselves. Both teams will not play under heat; typically we know we play by 4pm in Nigeria but playing by 10pm is not a disadvantage because the weather will even be better for a football game.”