Fatai Osho, Enyimba’s head coach has blamed the 2-1 loss to Orlando Pirates in the 2021 CAF Confederation Cup on the pitch in South Africa.
After the encounter, Osho bemoaned how the rain and wet pitch constrained their free-flowing style of play.
“The second half was a complete departure from the first half because the rain came down and we couldn’t flow the way we would have liked to. There was a little adjustment to our tactics in the second half but the slippery nature of the pitch did not help the matter,” he told TheCable.
Enyimba slipped at the eleventh hour, having fought valiantly to build on their impressive beginning to the tournament.
Orlando took the lead in the 27th minute after John Noble, Enyimba’s goalkeeper, inexplicably fluffed a routine across and created a mess.
Linda Mntambo then capitalised on the mess to set up Deon Hotto who finished with a lackadaisical back heel into a gaping net.
Enyimba responded as the first half was drawing to a close. Anayo Iwuala was too quick for Siyabonga Mpontshane, Pirates’ goalkeeper, who upended him in his goal area, and a penalty was awarded.
Austin Oladapo sent the goalkeeper the wrong way with a deft left-foot strike that skidded into the bottom left corner.
All their perseverance was undone in the 89th minute after a brief lack of concentration allowed Tshegofatso Mabaso to jump highest to a corner kick and his glancing header fizzed past Noble at the near post.
Osho also rued his team’s profligacy in front of goal. He picked out some scenarios and argued that those could have changed the game.
“Every now and then, we try to go on a break and we did that two times. Having one on one with their goalkeeper and we couldn’t convert that, and it could have been the turning point in the game,” he told TheCable.
The former Remo Stars’ head coach, however, assured that the team will put the loss behind them and focus on their next game to improve their position in the group.
“We have to look ahead now to see what we can do against the Algerian team ES Setif. They will be coming to our home and we need that win to put ourselves in a very good position in the group,” he said.
Enyimba plays ES Setif at the Aba Stadium on April 2.