Enyimba Believe They Can Wipe Out Pyramids’ Three-Goal Advantage

A file photo of Eyimba FC players on a football pitch.

 

 

Enyimba coach Fatai Osho insists the Nigerian club can reach the CAF Confederation Cup semi-finals despite needing to overcome a three-goal deficit when they host Egyptian outfit Pyramids on Sunday. 

“This tie is not over,” he told reporters. “Some shocking defending, tiredness and a lack of concentration cost us dearly in Cairo. We were not three goals worse than our opponents.”

Goals by Ramadan Sobhy and Ibrahim Adel came gift-wrapped from hesitant and careless defenders as 2020 runners-up Pyramids established a 4-1 quarter-final first-leg advantage.

Here, AFP Sport looks ahead to the return matches with Pyramids, Raja Casablanca of Morocco and JS Kabylie of Algeria expected to secure last-four places with Jaraaf of Senegal or Coton Sport of Cameroon.

Enyimba v Pyramids

Enyimba have won all four home matches in the Confederation Cup, but each victory has been by a one-goal margin with the team from southeastern city Aba averaging only 1.5 goals per match.

Captain Augustine Oladapo, Victor Mbaoma and Cyril Olisema have claimed seven of the eight goals Enyimba notched in the African equivalent of the UEFA Europa League, so much will hinge on their performances.

Pyramids have their sights on the semi-finals and a probable meeting with Raja, who beat the expensively assembled Cairo club twice in the group stage.

Raja v Pirates

Raja take a perfect four-victory home record this season into a clash of former CAF Champions League winners against famed Soweto club Orlando Pirates.

Although the odds have tilted toward a Moroccan victory after they forced a 1-1 draw in South Africa, Pirates’ coach Josef Zinnbauer is upbeat despite his side failing to score in their last three away games.

“We respect Raja because they are one of the most successful clubs in Africa, but we travelled to Casablanca without fear. Ben Malango is a dangerous forward and needs to be constantly policed.”

Jaraaf v Coton

Jaraaf and Coton, who take a 1-0 lead to Thies near Dakar, represent countries desperate for African club glory.

No Senegalese club has lifted a African trophy with Jeanne d’Arc coming closest by reaching the 1998 final of the now-defunct CAF Cup.

Cameroon last celebrated success 40 years ago when Union Douala lifted the African Cup Winners Cup, another competition that was discontinued after the 2003 final.

Kabylie v Sfaxien

This north African showdown has taken a surprise turn with Kabylie building a 1-0 advantage in Tunisia over record three-time Confederation Cup title-holders Sfaxien.

The first meeting was a tale of two penalties with leading Sfaxien scorer Firas Chaouat missing and Kabylie captain Redha Bensayah converting.

Kabylie boast an unbeaten home record in Africa this season, winning four matches and drawing one, and are expected to progress given they need only draw to do so.

CAFCC: Enyimba Beat South Africa’s Orlando Pirates, Qualify For Quarter-Finals

Enyimba is the only Nigerian team in the tournament and the CAF Champions League. (Photo: Twitter @EnyimbaFC)

 

Enyimba have qualified for the quarter-finals of the CAF Confederation Cup (CAFCC) after a 95th-minute goal from Cyril Olisema gave the Nigerian side a 1-0 win over Orlando Pirates on Wednesday night.

The Peoples Elephant needed a win going into their final Group A encounter against the South Africans to advance to the next stage of the competition.
At half-time and with the score pegged goalless, the Aba-based side were at the bottom of the group standings.

While many fans may have given up on the multiple Nigerian champions, Anayo Iwuala’s cross found Olisema; the latter wasted no time in slamming the ball past the Pirates’ goal to send his club to the next round.

Wednesday’s win ensured that coach Fatai Osho’s charges finished top of the group with three wins and three losses.

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Pirates had beaten Enyimba 2-1 in the reverse fixture of the encounter. Despite the loss in Nigeria, the South African club side made it to the quarters alongside Enyimba.

 

The Nigerian team lost 2-1 in the reverse fixture of the encounter against the Pirates (Photo: Twitter @Orlando Pirates FC)

 

JS Kabylie; Jaraaf. CS Sfaxien, Cotonsport, Pyramids, and Raja Casablanca are the other teams that qualified for the quarter-finals of the tournament.

The draw for the next round of Africa’s second-tier club competition will be held on Friday, April 30th in Egypt.

An ‘Ultimate Aim’

Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State had described Enyimba’s win as a testament to the indefatigable spirit of the club, thanking fans and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) for their support.

“The massive support the team received from her fans across the globe & particularly from the NFF under the able leadership of  Pinnick Amaju should serve as tonic for greater commitment & hard work,” the governor tweeted on his official handle on Thursday morning.

“I’m personally thrilled by the fact that matches can now be played at the Enyimba International Stadium by 10pm with floodlights on an ultra mordern turf, complimented by a digital score board all of which were provided by our administration & which also attracted accolades from the match commentators!

“Good Thinking, Good Product! Congrats Enyimba! Let’s keep the flag flying until we achieve our ultimate aim!”

Beat Enyimba FC And Get N20m, Wike Promises Rivers United

 

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has promised a reward of N20 million to Rivers United if they beat Enyimba FC in their CAF Confederation Cup play-off billed for Sunday.

Governor Wike says the Rivers State Government also said the male and the female clubs will get a N10 million match bonus for any match won away.

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In addition, Governor Wike says the state will reward the players handsomely if the male team returns with the CAF trophy and the female team makes her first appearance in the female CAF competition.

Governor wike made the promises while presenting buses for the clubs and two Hilux vans for the coaches.

Wike also approved the immediate release of two ambulances for the clubs with a promise to purchase a costa bus for the supporters club.

Plateau Utd, Kano Pillars Crash Out Of Continental Cups

Plateau United crashed out of the CAF Champions League on December 5, 2020.
Plateau United crashed out of the CAF Champions League on December 5, 2020.

 

Nigeria’s Plateau United on Saturday crashed out of the CAF Champions League after playing a goalless draw with Simba Sports Club of Tanzania.

Plateau United had lost the first leg at home 1-0 to the Tanzanian club.

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Kano Pillars suffered a similar fate in the CAF Confederation Cup after failing to overturn a first-leg deficit against A.S.C Jaraaf of Senegal.

The ‘Sai Masu Gida’ as they are fondly called by their fans played a goalless draw at home and lost out 3-1 on aggregate.

CAF Confederation Cup: Zamalek’s Win End 16-Year African Trophy Drought

Egypt’s Zamalek players celebrate with the trophy after they won the CAF Confederation Cup final football match between Egypt’s Zamalek and Morocco’s RSB Berkane at Borg El Arab Stadium near Alexandria on May 26, 2019.
Khaled DESOUKI / AFP

 

Brilliant penalties enabled Zamalek Sporting Club of Egypt to win the CAF Confederation Cup final near Alexandria Monday and end a 16-year African trophy drought.

Mahmoud Alaa converted a 55th-minute VAR spot-kick to give Zamalek a 1-0 second-leg win over Renaissance Sportive Berkane of Morocco and leave the teams tied at 1-1 on aggregate.

With no extra-time in CAF club matches, the final went to a shootout and Zamalek converted all five penalties to win 5-3 before a near-capacity crowd in the 86,000-seat stadium.

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The regular-time penalty and those in the shootout were all expertly taken, with their power and placement giving Berkane goalkeeper Abdelali Mhamdi no chance.

Success came as a massive relief to the Cairo-based club, who play some fixtures at the Borg El Arab Stadium almost 200 kilometres (114 miles) north-west of the capital for security reasons.

After winning nine CAF titles between 1984 and 2003, Zamalek failed to add another until the victory over Berkane in a match that kicked off late Sunday and stretched into Monday.

There was a mix of relief and joy for the predominantly Zamalek-supporting crowd after the shootout as they became the third most successful club in CAF competitions with 10 titles.

Al Ahly, Cairo neighbours of Zamalek and their greatest rivals for more than a century, have won 19 African titles and TP Mazembe from the Democratic Republic of Congo 11.

It was the fourth time in 16 finals that a shootout decided the outcome with Hearts of Oak of Ghana, Stade Malien of Mali and MAS Fes of Morocco winning finals on penalties.

Second Swiss Winner

Zamalek coach and former Tottenham Hotspur manager Christian Gross became the second Swiss handler to lift the Confederation Cup after Michel Decastel in 2007 with a Tunisian club.

The second leg result in Alexandria could have been different had Hamdi Laachir not squandered a clearcut early chance for Berkane, blazing over from close range.

Soon after, Zamalek came close to cancelling the 1-0 lead the Moroccans took into the return match when a Youssef ‘Obama’ Ibrahim lob beat the goalkeeper but went over the bar.

The Ethiopian referee initially ignored Zamalek penalty appeals early in the second half, but was persuaded by players to review a goalmouth incident and ruled that Najji Larbi handled.

Alaa blasted the penalty into the net, setting up a tense second half with Berkane sensing that if they scored an away goal, they would almost certainly win their first CAF final.

But an experienced Zamalek defence, backed by 31-year-old goalkeeper Mahmoud ‘Gennesh’ Abdel Rahim, held firm to force the penalty shootout.

Substitute Khalid Boutaib scored from the first spot-kick for Zamalek, and then Laachir fired embarrassingly wide to immediately put Berkane on the back foot.

It proved a crucial miss as Alaa, Abdallah Gomaa, Youssef Ibrahim, and substitute Ayman Sayed scored for the Egyptian White Knights to finally end their African title jinx.

Success for Zamalek confirmed the North African dominance of the Confederation Cup — the African equivalent of the UEFA Europa League — with 11 winning clubs coming from the region.

AFP

Enyimba Book CAF Confederation Cup Quarter-Final Spot With Dramatic Win

Enyimba Book CAF Confederation Cup Quarter-Final Spot With Dramatic Win

 

Wasiu Alalade scored in stoppage time to give Nigeria’s Enyimba a 1-0 homecoming victory over CARA of Congo Brazzaville on Wednesday and a CAF Confederation Cup quarter-finals place.

The dramatic Group C triumph completed a joyous return home for the club based in Aba (Abia State)  to a renovated ground and a new artificial pitch.

Enyimba last played at home two years ago and a near-capacity crowd defied wet weather to create a vibrant atmosphere at the 15,000-capacity Enyimba International Football Stadium.

Victory lifted four-time African title winners Enyimba to the top of the final standings with 12 points and CARA also qualified for the knockout phase as runners-up with nine points.

Williamsville of the Ivory Coast, who had been expected to beat already-eliminated bottom club Djoliba of Mali in Abidjan, could only draw 0-0 and ended third a point behind CARA.

USM Alger of Algeria and Rayon Sports of Rwanda also booked places in the September 3 quarter-finals draw in Cairo by finishing first and second respectively in Group D.

A missed penalty did not prevent USM overcoming Gor Mahia of Kenya 2-1 in Algiers while Rayon scored early to edge out-of-contention Young Africans of Tanzania 1-0 in Kigali.

The knockout-stage line-up was completed when Raja Casablanca of Morocco trounced Aduana Stars of Ghana 6-0 to win Group A.

Mahmoud Benhalib, the leading scorer this season in the African equivalent of the UEFA Europa League, raised his goal tally to 10 by bagging a second-half brace.

– Defended Valiantly –

ASEC Mimosas of the Ivory Coast had to settle for third spot behind Raja and V Club of the Democratic Republic of Congo despite beating the Kinshasa outfit 2-0 in Abidjan.

V Club, and Renaissance Berkane of Morocco and Al Masry of Egypt from Group B, qualified earlier this month.

Defeat was bitter for CARA, who lost five previous CAF away matches this season, as they defended valiantly with goalkeeper Chansel Massa making a string of fine saves.

But when a Mfon Udoh free-kick rebounded off the crossbar four minutes into stoppage time, substitute Alalade reacted quickest to stab the ball into the net.

It was the second successive Confederation Cup match in which Enyimba grabbed an additional-time winner with Farouk Mohammed converting a penalty at Djoliba.

Williamsville, seeking a last-eight place in their first African venture, dominated without being able to break through a superb Djoliba defence.

USM topped Group D with 11 points thanks to goals from Congo Brazzaville-born Prince Ibara Domiana and substitute Amir Sayoud before Jacques Tuyisenge reduced arrears.

The Algerians should have won more convincingly as Mohamed Meftah had an early penalty blocked by the leg of Fredrick Odhiambo and they should have been awarded another spot-kick.

Rayon, who trailed Gor by five points with two rounds remaining, went ahead after 19 minutes through Bonfis Bimenyimana and that goal secured second place with nine points.

Gor ended on eight points after losing their last two matches and Young Africans completed a disappointing campaign with just one victory and four points.

AFP

Eguma Lauds Team’s Mental Strength

Rivers United Technical Manager, Stanley Eguma has praised his team’s mental strength, following their qualification for the group stage of the CAF Confederation Cup.

The Port Harcourt based Rivers United, held Rayon Sports to a goalless draw in the second leg in Rwanda to seal a 2-0 aggregate victory and afterwards, Eguma lauded his players for not panicking and sticking to the game plan despite being reduced to 10 men on 57 minutes.

Rivers, who are the only Nigerian team left on the continent, complete the lineup for the group phase of the Confed Cup ahead of the draw scheduled for Wednesday April 26 in Cairo, Egypt.

Rivers United Coach, Eguma Warns Against Complacency

CAF Confederation Cup: Rivers United Beat Rayon Sports 2-0Rivers United Technical Adviser, Stanley Eguma says he is not getting carried away by his team’s first leg win over Rayon Sports of Rwanda, in the round of 32 of the CAF Confederation Cup.

Two goals from Emeka Atuloma and Guy Kuemian, gave the Port Harcourt based side the crucial home win but despite the advantage, Eguma has warned his players not to get complacent ahead of the return leg in Rwanda.

Both sides would be meeting again on Saturday April 22 at the Amahoro Stadium in Kigali with the aggregate winner progressing to the group stage of the competition.

CAF Confederation Cup: Rivers United Beat Rayon Sports 2-0

CAF Confederation Cup: Rivers United Beat Rayon Sports 2-0Nigeria’s CAF Confederation Cup Contender, Rivers United have rekindled their hopes for a continental title, following a 2-0 win against Rayon Sport of Rwanda in their first leg playoff.

The Nigerian club secured the victory in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, with goals from Emeka Atuloma and Guy Kuemian.

Atuloma set the hosts on the lead in the 29th minute, while Kuemian netted what proved to be the winning goal in the 51st minute.

The return leg will take place on April 22 in Kigali, Rwanda.

Etoile And Enyimba To Play On Wednesday

EnyimbaThe return leg clash of the CAF Champions League between Tunisian club side, Etoile Du Sahel and Enyimba of Aba will be played on Wednesday in Sousse.

Enyimba won the first leg in Port Harcourt 3-0 courtesy of a hat-trick by Mfon Udoh.

The seven-time Nigeria champions will train under floodlights in Sousse on Tuesday night.

The overall winners of this tie will march on to the group stage of the Champions League, while the losers drop down to the second-tier Confederation Cup.

The game has been fixed for 6pm Nigerian time.

Enyimba advanced to the final round of qualifiers 6-3 on aggregate at the expense of Vital Ó of Burundi.

Despite losing 2-1 in the second leg, the Elephants of Aba progressed having defeated the Burundians 5-1 in Aba.

CAF Champions League: Enyimba Advance To Final Qualifying Round

Champions LeagueIn the CAF Champions League, Nigeria Premier League champions, Enyimba have advanced to the final round of qualifiers.

Despite losing 2-1 in the second leg to Vital Ó of Burundi, the Elephants of Aba progressed 6-3 on aggregate.

Ikechukwu Ibenegbu scored for Paul Aigbogun’s men in the 28th minute but went on to concede two goals in the game.

Enyimba need to cross the next hurdle that comes in order to make it to the money spinning stage of the CAF Champions League.

Mixed Fortunes

Meanwhile, Warri Wolves have crashed out of the CAF Champions League after failing to overturn a first leg deficit against El Merreikh of Sudan.

Peter Nieketen’s boys eventually lost the tie 2-0 on aggregate.

Nasarawa United also tasted the bitter pill of defeat in the CAF Confederation Cup after losing 4-1 to Algeria’s CS Constantine.

With this result the solid miners have been shown the exit door as the tie ended 4-2 on aggregate in favour of their opponents.

CAF Confederation Cup: Nasarawa United Beat Gen Foot 

Nasarawa UnitedAn 89th minute goal was all that Nasarawa United FC of Lafia needed to overrun the Youthful Generation Foot Football Club of Senegal as the home boys popularly known as solid miners clinched the match scoring two goals to one.

The match played at the Abuja national stadium saw the solid miners taking the lead in the seventh minute through a goal scored by Tayo Fabiyi.

Attempts to increase the tally failed as the visitors frustrated every move of the home boys to increase the tally.

With a one goal deficit conceded in the first half, the visiting generation foot football club of Senegal changed the pace and tempo of the game upon resumption of the second half and their efforts paid off in the 47th minute with an equalizer from Ibrahim Niane.

A foul within the penalty area of the visitors in the 88th minute saw the Nasarawa boys taking the lead in the 89th minute as Sogbeso Seun converted the spot kick to end the game at 2-1 in favour of Nasarawa United.

Warri Wolves Walk Over Sao Tome Club

Meanwhile Warri Wolves progressed to the next round of the 2016 CAF Champions League without kicking a ball.

The Warri side were to host Praia Cruz in the first leg of the preliminary round but the Sao Tome club did not show up.

Wolves will now prepare to face Sudanese champions, Al-Merreikh, in March.