On Wednesday January 20, Dele Aiyenugba came up against his former side, Enyimba FC for the first time since leaving the team thirteen years ago.
The goalkeeper joined Enyimba in 2001 and was part of the historic Champions League winning squads of 2003 and 2004.
It was in the 2004 Champions League final against Etoile du Sahel that Aiyenugba made his name, becoming a national darling when coach Okey Emordi sent him on to replace first choice Vincent Enyeama for the penalty shootout. He saved a kick to ensure Enyimba became the first and so far, only club to successfully defend the title.
Aiyenugba subsequently became first choice and captain, leading the team to domestic success in 2005 and 2007.
That explains why coming up against Enyimba in Ilorin on Wednesday was both ’emotional’ and ‘special’ for the 37-year-old goalkeeper.
“It was very emotional for me,” admitted Aiyenugba after the match.
“It was at Enyimba that I began to make my name so the club still has a place in my heart. I remember everything I won with them.
“I still want to appreciate Enyimba, Anyansi (the club chairman) and the fans. No matter that I played against Enyimba, I still give them respect and love them so much.
“It was the first time for me to play against them so it was special. I just needed to be professional to do my job because right now, I am a Kwara United player.”