When Stanley Dimgba left at the end of last season, Anayo Iwuala saw the gap that had been created and understood that for his team to sustain their high level, there was the need for someone to step up to the plate; and so he did.
Anayo’s talent was glaring from his very first touch on his Enyimba debut in December 2019, and has never been in doubt ever since; but his form this season has been down to more than mere talent. His performances have spoken volumes of hard-work and dedication behind the scene.
His figures have already surpassed, and in some cases more than doubled, what he managed last term; hence his deserved invitation to the Super Eagles.
While many will keep crossed fingers and see if the winger gets game time with the Eagles, many others would also want to see how Enyimba approach the next two NPFL fixtures without their star man.
The People’s Elephant are up against MFM at the Agege Stadium on Thursday, before hosting Dakkada FC four days later – two games that Fatai Osho will have to navigate without his trusted trickster. But does the gaffer have within his ranks players that can step up and make Anayo’s absence less felt? Certainly!
Orok Gabriel is the name that quickly comes to mind. The 19-year-old has been used more than sparingly by Osho this season, and surely has not disappointed with his performances. Quick, tricky and with a diminutive figure, Orok on his day is a constant thorn to opposing defences, qualities that were very evident when he scored what turned out to be the winner in the 2-1 victory over Kano Pillars in January. Without doubt, Osho would be hoping that Orok will be able to replicate that performance in the upcoming fixtures against MFM and Dakkada
Sadiq Abubakar remains ruled out with illness, but Orok’s quality and Samson Obi’s new found joy on the flanks bring assurance; and Enyimba should have no worries going into those matches without Anayo. But beyond churning out good performances against MFM and Dakkada, Osho would be hoping that Orok can show more heart, take up more responsibilities and roll up his sleeves to carry the team on his young shoulders, just as Anayo has done so far.