How CAF 2.5 Million Dollars Windfall Hastened The Exit Of Anyansi Agwu From Enyimba Football Club

By Suleiman Anyalewechi, Aba

As the shock wave resulting from the sudden exit from this year’s CAF Champions League Competition in the first round continues to reverberate within the camp of the Enyimba Football Club, facts have emerged on how an expected 2.5 million dollars CAF windfall may have driven the change of guard at the managerial level of the Peoples Elephant.

NewsCritic online reports that following the sterling trajectories of Enyimba in CAF organized competitions in the last 20 years, coupled with the presence of  a strong football boardroom actors, the continental football governing body selected the club to represent the West African sub region at the forth coming maiden edition of the African Super 8 League billed to commence on October 20 this year in Tanzania .

Other participating teams are serial champions, Al Alhy of Egypt, Esperance of Tunisia, Wadad Casablanca of Morocco and T P Mezambe of DR Congo. Others are Memolondi Sundowns of South Africa, Petro Athletico of Angola and the host team Simba of Tanzania.

The African Super 8 competition which is set to topple the CAF Champions league as the continent’s most lucrative competition will see each of the participating teams pocketing an appearance fee of 2.5 million dollars (about N2 billion), while the winner with 11. 5 million dollars prize money will become arguably the richest football club in Africa. 

An authoritative source close to the 2022/23 Nigeria Professional League champions, revealed that although the immediate past management of the team worked assiduously to influence the selection of Enyimba, some hawks within the corridors of power and sporting fraternity ensured its exit before the commencement of the competition.

NewsCritic online was informed that the huge financial attachment to the competition was the main driving force behind the rejection of all well-meaning counsels from some highly placed and knowledgeable football top hierarchies who had called for caution in the managerial change at Enyimba.

The source who craved anonymity, claimed that the desire to superintend over the mouth-watering African Super 8 financial incentives, made it difficult for voice of reason to prevail in the countdown to unceremonious exit of the former chairman of the club, Chief Felix Anyansi Agwu.

“Now the die is cast. About 15 established players were forced out of the club by the new management. Sadly, their replacements are not in any way close to the standard required to make an impact in the domestic league, talk less of prosecuting continental assignments.

For those of us who are aware that the bulk of the players brought in to replace the experienced ones that were forced out, were recruited from the Papilo Football Academy in Owerri, we are not all that surprised at the poor results so far posted by the team.

“How can you go and recruit players from the Academy, who don’t have the experience to even play in the local league to go and prosecute a continental assignment that will involve organized and established players and clubs and you are hoping to make impact?

“For now, anybody that cares to inquire will discover that the players recruitment policy at Enyimba is similar to what happened at Arsenal Football Club during most of Arsene Wenger’s reign. That is recruiting not to win major trophies, but for marketing purposes.

“I’m saying this to warn all those that are still relishing the replication of the glory days at Enyimba to perish the thought and save themselves heartache.

“This is because those in charge at the club now are more interested in developing and selling their players.

From the caliber of players so far recruited, they have made a loud statement as to their real mission, “a source told NewsCritic online.

NewsCritic online several efforts to speak with both the camp of Enyimba management and the erstwhile chairman Chief Anyansi proved abortive as at the time of reporting on Saturday September 2, 2023.

Nevertheless, all eyes appear to focus for now on how the team which so far remain the only Nigerian club to have won the CAF Champions League, will fare in the African Super 8 League which draws were held on Saturday September 2, 2023 as well as how the expected 2.5 million dollars appearance money will be spent.

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