‘We are not swayed by Raja’s antics’- Theophilus Afelokhai confirms Enyimba’s readiness

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The People’s Elephant goalkeeper has expressed his teammates' readiness to take the Moroccan club to the cleaners on Wednesday

Enyimba’s Theophilus Afelokhai has disclosed that the People’s Elephant players are focused on the Wednesday’s first leg, semi-final fixture of the Caf Confederation Cup against Raja Casablanca of Morocco and are not swayed by their visitors’ off-field antics.

The Moroccan side had complained to Caf that they were abandoned at the Port Harcourt Airport when they arrived Nigeria for their final build-up to the game but Enyimba have countered such allegation in a reply to the same football ruling body in Africa.

Both teams are past winners of Caf Champions League and they are seeking a final ticket in any of Africa’s club competitions for the first time since 2003 (Raja) and 2004 (Enyimba) and the build-up to the fixture has been fierce with both teams at dagger drawn.

Speaking ahead of the game, Afelokhai disclosed that they are not allowing anything to distract them ahead of the tie and that they are looking forward to shaming Raja Casablanca with goals at the Enyimba Stadium, Aba in the first leg.

He said they tried as much as possible not to allow the mind game tactics of Raja work on them and that they have vowed to beat the North Africans to their game when the initial leg comes up on Wednesday.

“No one will be happy with the way things have gone in the past days regarding the preparations for this much-awaited game. We were surprised at the allegations leveled against our team but we are taking things calmly and looking forward to getting the desired result on Wednesday,” Afelokhai told Goal.

“We have told ourselves that we won’t allow anything to distract our preparations. We only see the antics of Raja as nothing serious. It was meant to create panic among us but we are not worried about it. We are going about with the rest of our preparations very calmly.

“Our target is to get to the final of this competition and we do not want to allow anything to serve as a hindrance to it. We know we are not going to qualify for the final on a platter and we are doing everything possible to ensure that we win well at home to dissuade another mind game that will start up in the return leg in Casablanca.”

The former Kano Pillars shot-stopper revealed that the games they played in the Federation Cup have served as the right build-up to the semi-final contest and that they do not have a problem with match fitness ahead of the fixture with Raja.

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He said that the three group stage games they played consecutively in Gombe made them be equipped and that they are hoping to replicate the same form they showed against J. Atete which saw them whitewashing the Delta State reps by 5-0.

“We are match fit and raring to go. We have played three competitive matches that have kept us prepared and ready for Raja Casablanca,” he added.

“We were able to distinguish ourselves against teams like Plateau United, J. Atete and Katsina United. These games have shown us what to expect against Raja and we are hoping to score as many goals as possible on Wednesday.”

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