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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 December, 2004, 17:57 GMT
Enyimba face the heat
Oluwashina Okeleji
BBC Sport, Lagos

I cannot sit down for 10 minutes without a fan or journalist seeking answers to questions about the final
Enyimba chairman Felix Anyansi-Agwu

Enyimba chairman Felix Anyansi-Agwu says the pressure of holding onto their African title is weighing heavily on the minds of both players and officials.

The Nigerians travel to Tunisia on Thursday for the first leg of the Champions League final against Etoile Sahel, which will be played on Saturday.

Agwu said he is constantly reminded of the need for the Aba side to get a respectable result in Sousse.

"I've not had a decent period of rest for the past five nights," Agwu told BBC Sport.

"I cannot sit down for 10 minutes without a fan or journalist seeking answers to questions about the final.

"It is tougher than what I experienced when we made the final last year.

"Even the players are forced to switch off their mobile phones due to pressure from fans.

"They keep on asking them whether they think they can retain the trophy or not.

"But the positive aspect of this pressure is the fact that the players have promised not to lose focus but rather thrive despite the pressure."

Agwu says his players are poised to stay at the top of the African game

Although Enyimba lost 1-0 to Etoile during the group stages of the competition, the defending champions reached the final by eliminating Esperance after a pulsating penalty shoot-out in Tunis.

And Agwu is confident that his players will be in the right frame of mind for Saturday's game.

"We have to approach this game like we have never won the title before.

"There is no second chance when it comes to the final but a win in Sousse will take away some of the pressure.

"We know we are on the verge of making history and no one will stop us."

Meanwhile, the club will be without defender Uga Opara for Saturday's game, who serves a one-match suspension.

"His absence is a big blow for us but we registered 29 players for this competition and there will be an ideal replacement," said Enyimba manager Okey Emordi.

The 'People's Elephant', as Enyimba are popularly known, have been preparing for Saturday's game in the south-western Nigerian town of Ota.

Opara seeks Enyimba's downfall
15 Nov 04 |  African
Esperance 1-1 Enyimba
14 Nov 04 |  African

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