Home Sports It’s Sink Or Swim For Dolphins In Africa

It’s Sink Or Swim For Dolphins In Africa

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Just like the CAF Champions League, this season’s CAF Confederations Cup also begins this weekend and two of Nigeria’s teams, Dolphins of Port Harcourt and Warri Wolves will be looking to make their mark in the competition. Incidentally both sides will be on away turf for the first leg of their fixtures.
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Dolphins: Domestic Front:
Dolphins are the luckiest of the Premier League quartet in the Continent this season. They ended last season in 7th place and teams like Nasarawa United, Giwa FC and Abia Warriors put up performances that probably earned them a place in the Continent. However Dolphins’ impressive run in the Federations Cup last season which saw them battle Enyimba in the finals earned them the remaining Continental spot even though they lost that final.
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What is at stake this year:
A lot. Despite the fact that they have performed creditably better than the other Port Harcourt side, Sharks FC, Dolphins have recently been living a shadow of their former self. They did a double (League and Federations Cup) in 2004, got to the CAF Confederations Cup finals in 2005 and won the Premier League in 2011. Since then they have barely turned up. They were in CAF Champions League 3 years ago in 2012 but they did not make it beyond the first round. Fans and admirers are expecting a big performance from Dolphins in the Continent this year.
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The Gaffer:
Stanley Eguma is the longest serving manager in the League. He has just been with Dolphins since 2008 and he knows this team inside out. He led them to their last League trophy in 2011 but also more recently saw his team end the Super-4 bottom of the log. It has been a rough ride for him especially on financial issues and last season he voiced his concerns that most of his players could leave. He has tasted victory with the side and it’s his responsibility to thinker a victory pathway for this side in the Continent,
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Key Men:
Dolphins have had to battle to attract quality players for their campaigns this season. Last season’s top scorer Emem Eduok has left and they have brought in Christian Pyagbara. Pyagbara made reasonable goal returns last season with Sharks and he is a player who can produce the goods when needed. Keeping him fit and getting the balls to him will be vital. They have also made a number of defensive reinforcements like former Rangers captain, Cyril Oriaku. Good balance in attack and in defence will be invaluable.
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First Opposition:
Equatorial Guinea side Leones Vegetarianos are first up for Dolphins and honestly, it’s not a side that many around here know very well. Stanley Eguma even admitted that he was just hearing about the side when the paring was made. Perhaps he must have sent a delegate to watch the team and find out a thing or two about them upon learning of the clash but if he watched the just concluded AFCON, he must have seen the likes of striker, Rubén Darío. He is one of the National team players who plays for Vegetarianos.
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Prediction: Even though most people, (myself included) are worried for Dolphins with regards to their preparations and off the pitch issues, they should go past this opposition. Where the bigger challenge lie is after this round where they could face Club Africans. Well, like it is said, when we get to that bridge, we will cross it. Dolphins should win over the two legs.