Enyimba FC of Aba Coach, Fatai Osho, has raised the alarm over the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 (PTF) ‘delay’ in approving the Aba Township Stadium as venue for their clash with Orlando Pirates of South Africa on April 28.
The game is the teams’ last game in Group A of the 2021 Confederation Cup. A win in the game will give Enyimba a ticket to the quarterfinals of the Confederation Cup.
The first leg of tie in Johannesburg ended 2-1 in favour of Orlando Pirates.
Orlando Pirates are on 10 points and will still qualify even if they lose in Aba. But Enyimba, who are on six points, must win to move to the next round.
Enyimba is third in the group behind Al Ahli of Libya, who beat the Peoples Elephant 1-0 last Thursday, to move to seven points.
Speaking to The Guardian at the weekend, Osho, who arrived in Nigeria from Libya yesterday, said it was unfortunate that Enyimba do not know the venue of the match against Orlando Pirates just a few days to the game, adding, “since the Confederations Cup started, we have been facing travelling problems, which have affected our performance in away games.
“You can see the logistics issues Enyimba had before travelling to Libya just a day before the game. It affected my boys’ performance because they did not have enough time to rest for the match.
“Now, this is the last game against a South African team, a crucial match that will determine our fate in the competition, yet the PTF has not said anything on the venue.
“We arrived in Lagos on Friday afternoon and travelled by road to Asaba. The team just arrived in Aba on Saturday by road. You can imagine the stress the players are going through at the moment.
“If the PTF had reached out to Enyimba to disclose if we will play in Nigeria or not, we would have stayed in Lagos and trained before moving to the country they want us to play.”
Osho said it was impossible for Enyimba to excel in the competition when they are always on the road at different occasions, adding, “our opponents are training and mentally focused for the game as we speak, but Enyimba players are still worried over the venue of the game.
“If the team fail, some people will say the coach is not competent without knowing the challenges I have been facing.
“It is like in this part of the world, we like stressing ourselves before doing the right thing.”
He revealed that Enyimba has written to the Confederation of African Football (CAF) through the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on the possible venues for the game outside Nigeria if the PTF decides the South Africans cannot play in the country.
He added, however, “it is important the game is played in Nigeria to help the players get the maximum home support and mental strength to excel.”