Enyimba Goalie Seeks Revenge In Abia Derby

It is the big game of the weekend and the biggest game of the season in the state. Glo Premier League new boys and giant-killers, Abia Warriors will host Abia State rivals and six-time champions, Enyimba International, in a Match Day 24 clash on Sunday.

The stakes are high for both teams who have the same points on the league table, while fans of both sides are in a frenzy ahead of the game, Enyimba goalkeeper, Femi Thomas, looks ahead to the game and says there is no pressure ahead of the game but one in which getting the three points is most vital.

“The mood in the camp is normal. There is no pressure on us and honestly, there is nothing special about the game. What is on our minds is to simply go there and win.
We will treat it as one of those away games where there will be a lot of pressure from the home fans but we have revenge on our minds. They came to Aba and went away with a win. They will have a taste of their own medicine,” said Thomas to lmc-ng.org.

Warriors shocked the country when they beat Enyimba 1-0 in Aba thanks to a Cletus Itodo strike and while that result announced Warriors on the big stage, the Edo State-born goalkeeper says that although their good performances have earned them his respect, they still remain second fiddle in the state.

“Yes Abia Warriors have some good players. Players who you can term as old horses, experienced but on a very good day, they are no match for us. On Sunday it will be 11 against 11 and we hope to make our superiority count,” boasted Thomas.

“When I look at what they have achieved this season, I think they deserve some applause. Being new in the league a lot of people thought that they will struggle but they have done well. Having said that, Warriors are “baby Enyimba.”

Fresh from yet another clean sheet in Enyimba’s game in midweek, his eighth in 11 league games, Thomas knows that keeping a clean sheet against the rampant Warriors attack will make the difference.

“We have a number of good goalkeepers here and anyone of us will put in a good shift if chosen for the game. They score a lot of goals especially at home and whoever is put out there must give a great performance. In the game we played against them in Aba, I did not play because I was injured but then everyone of us want to do their best for the club. The quality is there, we are all good goalkeepers. Everyone must do his work because it is what we achieve as a team that is more important,” he said.

Thomas currently in his second season at Enyimba had some praises for his new manager whose presence have turned things around for the Aba based side. Enyimba have now played nine matches under the new manager, winning seven, drawing one and losing one.

He admits that every player is fired up and the competition for places is high.

“Every coach has his own style but the most important thing about him (Kadiri Ikhana) is the discipline that now exists in the team. It’s been about discipline, timing. Anything is possible with the right timing. In training, we are not doing anything far different from what we have always done but the discipline here is what has turned things around.

“The coach is like a father to us. His communication. His fatherly presence and words. He told us to see it that we are playing for ourselves first before anyone else. All the boys want to play. I believe we have about three sets of players here that can beat the best 11 selected from the other 19 teams in the league,” Thomas boasted.

Talking about managers, Sunday will also be a reunion of some sort between Thomas and the opposing manager, Ladan Bosso who was his gaffer at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in 2007 where they were knocked out in the quarter-finals by Chile. Kingsley Salami who was also part of the squad to that tournament also plays for Abia Warriors.


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