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Football | Nigeria

The People's Elephant set to return



For the second year, former African champions, Enyimba, will not be among Africa’s best and the club are in a hurry to reverse the trend.

“Enyimba is one of Africa’s best and we want to return to the> continent in 2014,” Enyimba supremo, Felix Anyansi said to supersport.com.

To ensure turnaround maintenance is achieved, the Aba side have contracted former Super Eagles' assistant coach, Salisu Yusuf.

Yusuf becomes the 11th manager at Enyimba since the club became a powerhouse in 2001 when Godwin Uwua won their first league title. The duo of Okey Emordi and Austin Eguavoen have coached the club twice.

Despite their status as Nigeria’s most successful side since the dawn of the new millennium, Enyimba still struggle to retain coaches.

The assignment for the former Ranchers Bees and El-Kanemi star is simple. Get Enyimba a place on the continent in 2014.

Having worked at Kano Pillars, where he narrowly missed the league title in 2010, Yusuf understands the body language.

Although it’s his first time as manager of a team in the south, the Zaria-born Yusuf brings a wealth of experience to the Elephants after spells with the Super Eagles, Flying Eagles, Kano Pillars and Lobi Stars, respectively.

Yusuf had a torrid time at Lobi, but has since used the experience to earn full marks at Pillars, which earned him the chance to work as one of Samson Siasia’s assistants.

Last term, he worked at lower division side, Taraba United.

Former FC CapeTown and Warri Wolves gaffer, Paul Aigbogun as well as Imama Amapakabo will assist Yusuf.

A New Era Begins

Yusuf started his reign as manager at the Agege Stadium, where Enyimba edged lower division side, Bolowotan 2-1 as part of their build-up to the new season.

“It’s a good match and we will continue with more matches this weekend to perfect our strategy.

“We have two matches in Ota and then we shall return to Agege for the last match on Sunday,” he told supersport.com.

Anyansi remains confident that Yusuf can change the fortunes of the team.

"I believe Salisu Yusuf is the right man to move the club to where we want to go.

"He has an outstanding reputation for his technical knowledge of the game and led Kano Pillars to their first league title. He also worked well with the Samson Siasia led technical crew of the Super Eagles.

"Salisu shares our long-term ambitions and ethos of playing great football and winning trophies and I believe he will be able to do so now with all the support we will give him. Every member of Enyimba and the Government of Abia State will give him everything he needs to succeed,” Anyansi told the club website, enyimbafc.net.

New Players

Despite the exit of Kalu Uche, Razaq Adegbite, Samuel Tswanya, Gbolahan Salami, Richard Ocheayi and inspirational skipper Josiah Maduabuchi, Enyimba retained some their big names like Uwadiegwu Ugwu, Rasheed Olabiyi, Uche Agbo, Obinna Elegi, Chinedu Udoji and goalkeeper Godwin Paul amongst others.

The club have attracted some new players.

New Players:

Femi Thomas: Akwa United

Umar Danlami, Bala Mohammed: Jigawa Golden Stars

Musa Musa: Kaduna United

Wasiu Sowemimo: Dolphins

Fidelis Saviour, Benjamin Ishaya, Abdulrasak Aliyu: FC Taraba

Ukeyima Akombo: Sunshine Stars

Michael Okoyoh: Warri Wolves

Sibi Gwar: Niger Tornadoes

Siman Yusuf: Kano Pillars

Bobby Sokari

Kamaru Sikiru

Coaches since 2001

Godwin Uwua: 2001

Kosta Papic: 2001 - 2002

Kelechi Emeteole: 2002

Kadiri Ikhana: 2003

Miroslav Urukalo: 2004

Okey Emordi: 2004 - 2005

Alphonsus Dike: 2005 – 2006

Maurice Cooreman: 2007

Austin Eguavoen: 2008 – 2009

Okey Emordi: 2009 – 2011

Austin Eguavoen: 2011 – 2012

Abdul Maikaba: 2012 (Interim)

Salisu Yusuf: 2012

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