Elkanemi Warriors returned to their traditional home ground in Maiduguri in April to start what may be their longest home run of wins in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), a feat that has prompted their lanky forward, Chinedu Ohanachom to sing the praises of the squad but admitting they are late in challenging for the title.
The Borno Warriors scraped to a 3-2 defeat of Sunshine Stars on Match Day 32 to make it ten wins from ten games on home soil since returning to Maiduguri on April 10 in a Match Day 11 fixture against Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) which they won 2-0. For over a season, El-Kanemi was forced to play its home fixtures in Kano (2014/15) season and Katsina at the start of the 2015/16 season but following successes by the Nigerian armed forces in the battle to contain the Boko Haram terrorist group, the League Management Company (LMC) granted approval for the team to return to Maiduguri. That seemed to have also marked a return to winning ways that has chalked up ten on the trot.
In the match against Sunshine Stars, Ohanachom’s offensive effort alongside teenage team-mate Hussaini Bata, forced Taye Isiaka of the Akure Gunners to score a heart breaking own goal, which eventually put the Warriors ahead for the second time in the duel. The goal poacher also created the third after rounding goalkeeper David Ariya, who fouled him for a penalty. Defender Hussaini Mohammed converted the resultant kick that won the tension soaked tie.
The player, who is fondly called Nedu by mates, regrets that they were late in coming for the title but insists that El-Kanemi Warriors has one of the best squads in the NPFL to win the title.
“I strongly believe that the new season will reveal our true strength and get us to achieve our set target as we will be fighting to win the title or at least grab a continental ticket.
“This is our tenth consecutive home win in Maiduguri. That feat shows the strength of a solid team that can compete for the league title next season. We are now 12th on the log and it is obvious we are not one of title contenders but I am confident of a top ten finish which shows the strength of the squad in our club”, continued Nedu.
Not surprising though, he points to their displacement in the seasons past and at the start of the on-going campaign as a factor for their earlier indifferent results.
“If you consider our unstable condition and playing on adopted home grounds within the space of two years, you can then attest that not all teams would have survived such predicament. But we kept our focus and courage to save the clubs image”, he offered.
Nedu is not one to mask his hunger and ambition to win the prestigious NPFL title for the Borno landlords by next season and goals and assists from the former FC Taraba marksman has been considered very instrumental to Elkanemi’s retaining their place in the top flight last season.
“My dream is to win the league title here and I look forward to that special day. If my team can keep the tempo on away games like we had played at home, definitely, we will be too strong to contend with and the sky will be our limit by next term”, boasted the fair skinned Nedu.
Elkanemi have notched-up 42 points after 31 rounds of matches. Their next fixture will be on the road at relegation threatened Ikorodu United on Sunday, 28 August 2016.