Ducor Sports Star of the Week
Spotlight on Enyimba International’s coach Usman Abdallah.
Brilliant Enyimba International rose to the occasion when most needed beating Rayon Sport of Rwanda 5-1 to storm to the semi-finals of the CAF Confederations Cup on Sunday.
The Nigerian outfit had picked up an away goalless draw in the first leg in Kigali and very few of their fans thought that the People’s Elephants would benefit from playing at home to progress to the next round.
Kudos to the coach Usman Abdallah for guiding the boys in putting up what was without a doubt their best performance so far in the competition.
For a club where losing a match is a crime, the former Nigeria international expressed surprise as he never expected such a big win with his attackers’ lack of sufficient goals since the start of the competition.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]I will say I was a bit surprised with the outcome of the game because we have not been a high scoring side since the beginning of the season.[/perfectpullquote]
In winning the match, Abdallah added material to the rich chapter of his career with the two-time CAF Champions League winners in their journey to another continental victory.
The 44-year-old gaffer was only appointed in July by the club’s management after the resignation of Paul Aigbogun after three years on the saddle.
Abdallah had earlier been added into the coaching stable of the team in December last year to work as one of the assistant coaches.
His team’s victory opened the door for a blockbuster fixture with Raja Casablanca of Morocco in the semi-final. The first leg will be held in Aba on October 3 while the return leg takes place in Casablanca on October 24.
The People’s Elephant last met a Moroccan opposition, Wydad Casablanca in 2011 at the same semi-final stage of the CAF Champions League. They were narrowly edged out 1-0 on aggregate.
What do we know about Usman Abdallah?
Abdallah was born in Kano, Nigeria. He studied in the northern part of the country where he attended Tarauni Primary School and the Government Secondary School Kazaure.
He later studies read chemical engineering at Kaduna Polytechnic and graduated in 1989 after which he left the country in 1991 for a professional football career.
Before then his first major club was Kano State Academicals before moving to Sanka Vipers of Kano, UNTL of Kaduna and Rocks of Kaduna. He also featured in several festival teams in the 80s as well as Nigeria’s Under-20 and Under-23 teams.
While abroad, he had an exciting playing career with stints at clubs in Europe and Asia, with the most notable ones being Al Arabic of Saudi Arabia and Bayern Leverkusen.
He also played in Singapore for three S-League sides – Jurong FC, Khalsa FC, and Gombak United FC, with his odyssey in Asia also involving periods with top side Sheikh Russle in Bangladesh and Kalantan FC in Malaysia.
At the twilight of his playing career, he returned to France and starred for FC Bolen and FC Sete before his retirement to coaching in the French lower division with EPS FC, FC Sete, FC Frontignan and Bollene FC.