James Abel can now heave a sigh of relief after eventually making his long-awaited Enyimba debut in Sunday’s fixture against Wikki Tourists at the Enyimba Stadium.
The former FC IfeanyiUbah centre-back endured a spell of 22 matches (three CAF Confederation Cup games and 19 NPFL matches) before finally making his first appearance for the record 8-time league champions, capping it with a goal in the 2-0 victory.
Expressing his excitement after his impressive debut, James admitted he was gripped with ‘anxiety’, adding that he always gave his support to the team while waiting for his time.
“It was a great feeling representing the People’s Elephant,” he told www.enyimbafc.net.
There was anxiety, but the thing is that I knew what was at stake, though it was not easy for me because I think the team has played up to 22 matches; 3 continental games and 19 league games, and I didn’t play any. I wasn’t in the team. I stayed up to straight 12 matches without even making the team; I was not even in the team let alone playing.
“It wasn’t easy for me, but I believe as a champion, some days are like that. And I really believe there’s time for every player.
“And the good part of it is that the players that were playing before I came in were getting my support. I was supporting them all the time individually.”
However, he disclosed he ‘lost confidence’ in himself at some point following his failure to make the team during that long spell, but remained consistent in training, maintaining his fitness.
“I’ve been giving my best (in training), I didn’t allow the circumstances or the setback to weigh me down,” James disclosed. “I’ve been training personally, going to the gym. I give 100% in team training. I train on my own. I keep positive attitude.
“So, I already knew that when the opportunity will come, I will make good use of it. I waited, and waited and waited.
“Though there was a time I lost confidence. I lost confidence in myself, which is normal. It happens to champions. I lost confidence because merely looking at it, last season I played all the 38 league games (at FC IfeanyiUbah). So, this season after 20, 21, 22 matches, I was nowhere to be found. It really affected me.
“I’ve spoken with the coach severally. He calls me. At times we’ll speak, he asks me questions like ‘how do you feel?’ All those things. It wasn’t easy for me.”