Enyimba assistant coach Yemi ‘Yema’ Olanrewaju has defended his decision to field youngsters in Sunday’s 3-2 win against Akwa United in the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL).
Flying Eagles midfield sensation Daniel Daga, Chidiebere Nnachi and Eze Ekwutoziam were rookies handed surprise starts, with Chibuzor Izuogu making a substitute appearance as goals from Innocent Gabriel, Chijioke Mbaoma and a brilliant freekick from Somiari Alalibo helped the defending champions beat their tough rivals.
Asked why he chose the youngsters in place of more experienced players in the team, Yema, who stood in for head coach Finidi George in Sunday’s win, said : “For me, just like coach Finidi George, I don’t think we believe in age. It’s all about what you bring to the table. These are young talented players. If they can play, why won’t you field them?
“Football is not about age. (Lionel) Messi made his debut at Barcelona at 17, 18 years. So, if these guys can play, what stops them? So, they are good, that’s why they’re playing, not because of any other thing. They deserve to play.”
Coach Yema, however, expressed worry over his team’s inability to keep things tight at the back.
The record 9-time Nigerian champions have conceded 4 goals in their first two matches in the NPFL this season.
“I’m really concerned, and if you see all the four goals we conceded, they are all from set pieces,” he said.
“We practiced this thing all through the week, because we know the way we are tactically set up, we hardly concede goal in open play.
“So, I think we need to improve on that. And our players, our keeper, everybody has to do their job, but things will get better.
“We can’t throw them under the bus because they made mistakes. They must make that mistake. If you don’t make mistake, you won’t concede.”