NPFL: Okonkwo regrets Abia derby suspension - FCNaija

NPFL By: Ambrose Udeme | 29/01/2018

Enyimba striker Chinonso Okonkwo endured a mixed outing in Sunday's 1-1 draw against Rivers United in Port Harcourt after bagging a man-of-the-match display, which included winning a late first-half penalty before being sent off for dissent, ten minutes from time.

Okonkwo in an interview with Enyimba's official media channel 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.

"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." said the striker

On playing 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.

"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."