The hierarchy of Enyimba, a Nigeria Professional Football League side, has reacted over media report that the two-time African champions ‘have finally been abandoned by their fans’.
The People’s Elephant claimed they enjoy a lasting ‘bond of unity and support’ from their fans and poured cold water on the report which claimed that the scanty crowd that watched their 2-0 defeat of TS Galaxy of South Africa in Sunday’s CAF Confederation Cup first leg final playoff game was as a result of the fans anger with the team.
Expressing their fury in a statement by Zazi Bariza, spokesman of the Nigeria’s 8th time league champions and made available to Completesports.com, Enyimba made it clear that the scanty crowd during Sunday’s game was a product of the six hour rainfall on the match day.
“From the start, this headline, “Enyimba finally Abandoned By Their Aba Fans”, is nothing short of a clickbait, designed to attract hits and give the fledgling news website traction but we will not sit idly and let a writer gravely mislead readers and score hits at our expense”, the People’s Elephant said.
“For a club with record attendance figures in our home games, we were perplexed by the hypothesis of the writer as to why there were some empty seats in the stadium on Sunday in our match against TS Galaxy.
“Naturally, one would theorize that the rain that day which started around 9 a.m and ended at 2:30 pm was the prevailing encumbrance but not this writer, who hadn’t watched an Enyimba game in Aba since August 2018.
“Yet, he returned to the stadium on Sunday and immediately deduced that we have lost our fans support”.
The club which have ruled Africa on two consecutive years in CAF’s top inter club championship continued their fume of rage over the alleged media backlash.
“Clearly there’s more to this confounding claims than meet the eyes because reaching such a conclusion; that the fans had somehow boycotted the game in expression of their disapproval of the club requires some ill will.
“Just over three weeks ago in our CAF Champions League game against Sudan’s Al Hilal, there were more than 10,000 fans in attendance, including the state governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu. These fans were vociferous throughout and despite the goalless draw, were full of support after the final whistle.
“Against TS Galaxy on Sunday, lesser number of people were clearly in attendance but how did the writer infer from this singular game that it was an indication of a loss of support?
“That, somehow, the people of Aba have lost interest in Enyimba? Who knows, maybe the fans held a meeting prior to the game and discussed their collective disinterest, their decision to boycott the game and the writer had been present as they aired their complaint, one by one.
“Even in stadiums across Europe with mostly capacity crowds there are moments where less people are in attendance in one game and fill the stands in the next.
“Certainly, one would imagine that it is the attendance figures at the end of a season that provides greater insight into the level of support a club enjoys, not one game. Throughout last season we enjoyed massive support in Aba but of course this means nothing to the writer, who, somehow did not quote a single fan in his piece but still inferred and concluded that our fans have turned their backs on us.
“As a football club, we fully support quality, independent and progressive journalism even when the facts are not flattering, but we will object strongly to reports and opinion pieces like this, written solely for the purpose of misguiding the public,” the club stressed.
Enyimba are billed to travel to South Africa on Friday for the return leg match billed for Sunday inside the 8,000 capacity Kameelriver Stadium, South Africa.