Chinonso Okonkwo fomerly of Rivers United
Tuesday Jan 30, 2018. 12:00
Enyimba striker Chinonso Okonkwo has reflected on Sunday's 1-1 draw against Rivers United in the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) match in Port Harcourt on Sunday.
The forward, who was named Man of the Match, won a late first-half penalty, but he was red-carded for dissent with ten minutes left on the clock.
Okonkwo spoke to Enyimba's official media channel and he explained his sending-off while also baring his anguish at missing Wednesday's local derby against Abia Warriors.
"I really thank God for the result, and I thank the players for the way we came out in the game. Also, I'm very very happy about myself, although toward the dying minutes of the game, I was so disappointed about the red card,” he said on FC Naija.
"But if you watched the game, you'd know that, at a time, it became so frustrating to me because, [off] the ball, the (Rivers) defenders were kicking and hitting me. I know that was their game plan, but it was quite unfortunate that I got the (second yellow) card.
"I'll tell you the truth: it's bad. As you can see, some of our players are not available – they went for CHAN – while some are injured. It's not like I wanted to get the red card, it was just a part of the game. I feel bad. You know, in a local derby, you have to give all. Assuming I could be there, at least... What will be, will be; but I prefer being there to make something happen."
The 27-year-old marksman went on to comment on being played as a lone striker.
"In the Nigerian league, you have an away plan and you have a home plan. So, for away games, we had that as a game-plan that I'll be played alone (upfront), trying to keep the ball while the support comes from behind,” he explained.
"It isn't that I really enjoy it, because it's more stressful to hold the ball alone and it takes time for others to support you. But in a home game, we wouldn't play like that.
"I think that's the plan of the Technical Director, so that's the reason we played like that."