Coach Okey Emordi says winning the CAF Champions League with Enyimba in 2004 remains his most memorable moment as a football manager.
Emordi led the People’s Elephant to their second continental title, beating Tunisia’s Etoile Du Sahel 5-3 on penalties in the final after aggregate scores were level at 3-3.
The former Enugu Rangers player said the feat was more remarkable after Nigerians had written off the team following their first-leg performance against Esperance in the semi-final.
“My most memorable moment as a coach was naturally when I won the CAF Champions League with Enyimba in 2004. It was amazing because honestly I never thought it will ever happen,” Emordi told The PUNCH.
“When we played the semi-final against Esperance, we played a 1-1 draw in Nigeria and everyone wrote us off but we came out victorious in the end.
“At a time, I gave up but the players were there to encourage me. They told me ‘coach don’t worry, this trophy is ours’, that gave me extra motivation. The chairman of the club, Felix Anyasi-Agwu was also there motivating us to go on and push the boundaries.”
Emordi joined the People’s Elephant a year after former Nigerian international Kadiri Ikhana had led the team to Nigeria’s first CAF Champions League title in 2003 and Emordi says that put pressure on him when he joined the side.
“The pressure to follow in Ikhana’s footstep was very enormous. At a time I thought, ‘why did I come to take up this big challenge?’ But I said if the former coach could achieve the feat, I could as well, and I did. It remains my most memorable moment.”
Enyimba’s triumph in 2004 was the last time a Nigerian team reigned supreme in the continent.