Completesportsnigeria.com's Nigerian league expert, ADEBOYE AMOSU, examines Enyimba's historic seventh Glo Premier League title and lists the factors that made the People's Elephant an unstoppable force…
1. STRENGTH IN DEPTH WITH A BIG SQUAD
The Peoples Elephant have unarguably the best pool of players in the Glo Premier League today. From the defence to the attack, coach Kadiri Ikhana has top quality players he can call upon at anytime.
Femi Thomas, Chijoke Ejiogu, Moses Ocheje and former junior international, Joshua Enaholo, are top class goalkeepers who at different times in the season manned the post with dexterity for the champions.
In defence, the likes of Ugwu Uwadiegu, Bright Esieme and Emmanuel Anyanwu who were once regular starters, hardly featured for the side this past season with their replacements proving equal to the task.
Coach Ikhana is also spoilt for your choice in midfield where the likes of Kingsley Sokari, Nzube Anaezemba, Andrew Abalogu , Ahmed Kone, and Daniel Etor hold sway.
The verstatility of skipper Chinedu Udoji, who was deployed to play in the holding midfield role in the latter part of the campaign, ensured regular duo, Razak Aliyu and Kamal Sikiru, who were injured for the better of the season, were not missed.
It was the same story in the team's attack where last season's top scorer, Mfon Udoh, was hindered by injury as well as the man who took over from him, Christian Obiozor.
Mid-season signing, Musa Najare, Ezekiel Bassey, Alloy Browne and Peter Onyekachi weighed in with a few goals.
2. ROCK-SOLID DEFENCE
Aside from conceding the fewest goals (27), the Aba-based outfit kept 19 cleen sheets, the most by any side in the top flight in the just concluded season.
Though they were outscored by their rivals, ( Warri Wolves, 62, and Sunshine Stars, 58 compared to theirs, 48) their impregnable defence marshalled by captain Chinedu Udoji proved decisive at the end of the day.
3.IMPRESSIVE AWAY FORM
While title rivals, Warri Wolves and Sunshine Stars, struggled to pick points on their travels, Kadiri Ikhana's sode racked up five wins, the most by any side, and eight draws on the road.
Second-placed Warri Wolves managed just one away win. Only Wikki Tourists and Nasarawa United came close with four wins on their travels.
4. EXPERIENCE OF KADIRI IKHANA
The experienced gaffer who directed proceedings from the bench was a key factor in the former African champions winning the title.
Ikhana ensured the side dealt with the threat of their rivals in the crucial part of the campaign by making sure they focused on the task ahead. He also make sure injuries to key members of the squad never derailed their title bid by deploying other players to fill those positions.
5. FINANCIAL STABILITY
While some of their rivals were busy bickering and fighting over salaries and bonuses, Enyimba never had such troubles.
That helped them concentrate on achieving their objective for the season. Warri Wolves players for instance had several running battles with the management of the club over unpaid salaries and bonuses.
Sunshine Stars players also shunned training for some days at a time in the season over the same issue.