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.

Nigerian Predator Mbaoma Gives Enyimba Winning Start

Victor Mbaoma

 

 

Victor Mbaoma enhanced his reputation as a penalty area predator by scoring the winner as Enyimba edged Al Ahly Benghazi of Libya 2-1 Wednesday on CAF Confederation Cup matchday 1.

Entente Setif of Algeria and Orlando Pirates of South Africa battled to a 0-0 draw in another high-profile match in the African equivalent of the UEFA Europa League.

There was no joy for the two Zambian hopefuls with Nkana crashing 3-0 to Pyramids in Egypt and NAPSA Stars falling 2-0 to title-holders Renaissance Berkane in Morocco.

Tunisian clubs Etoile Sahel and record three-time Confederation Cup winners CS Sfaxien fared better with home victories over Jaraaf of Senegal and Salitas of Burkina Faso.

Raja Casablanca of Morocco and JS Kabylie of Algeria also used home advantage to collect maximum points with solitary-goal wins over Namungo of Tanzania and Coton Sport of Cameroon.

Namungo and Coton finished with 10 men after both Tanzanian Haruna Shamte and Cameroonian Goni Ali were sent off having been yellow-carded twice.

Enyimba faced Benghazi in southeastern Nigerian city Aba brimming with confidence after coach Fatai Osho said his team were powerful enough to become the first Nigerian club to lift the trophy.

They have been two-time winners of both the CAF Champions League and the CAF Super Cup, but their best Confederation Cup showing was reaching the 2018 semi-finals.

Enyimba took only 10 minutes to score, through captain Austin Oladapo, but the Libyans levelled soon after via an Abdallah Imhamed penalty.

– Eight-goal tally -Mbaoma increased his CAF goal tally to eight from 12 matches when he struck what proved to be match winner from close range just before half-time.

Winning gave Enyimba a two-point lead in Group A after two other former African champions, Setif and Pirates, failed to score in Accra.

The home fixture of Setif was moved to Ghana because Algerian coronavirus regulations prevented Pirates travelling to the north Africa nation.

It came as no surprise that Nkana were outplayed by Pyramids in Group D as this was the 19th visit of the Zambian club to the north of the continent and the best result they have managed is one draw.

Pyramids were runners-up to Berkane last season and wasted no time establishing their authority as Palestinian Mahmoud Wadi and Islam Issa netted within nine minutes of the kickoff.

African debutants NAPSA were sunk by first-half goals from Zakaria Hadraf and 35-year-old Mouhcine Iajour in Group B as Berkane seek to become the third back-to-back winners of the competition.

Soufiane Rahimi, the five-goal leading scorer, at the recent African Nations Championship in Cameroon, was the Raja match-winner in Group D.

Kabylie, whose last of six CAF titles came 19 years ago, left it late against Coton in Group B with Badreddine Souyah snatching his third African goal two minutes from the end of regular time.

In Group C, Hamza Lahmar bagged a brace for twice Confederation Cup winners Etoile and an Aymen Harzi penalty enabled Sfaxien to bag three points.

Enyimba Prepare For CAF Champions League Damage Repair Mission

Enyimba’s Sadiq Abubakar shields the ball from Abia Warriors Adekunle Adeleke.

 

Enyimba of Nigeria will try Wednesday to repair the damage inflicted by Seifeldin Malik, whose hat-trick propelled Al Merrikh of Sudan to a 3-0 CAF Champions League last 32 first leg victory.

It is the second time the club from southeastern city Aba have faced such a deficit in the elite African competition, and are hoping for a more successful outcome.

Enyimba suffered a 4-1 loss away to ASEC Mimosas of the Ivory Coast in a 2002 qualifier and a 3-1 home victory was insufficient to avoid elimination.

Here, AFP Sport puts the spotlight on five intriguing return matches as clubs seek overall victories, group places, and a minimum payout of $550,000 (450,000 euros).

Enyimba v MerrikhGhana-born Enyimba midfielder Farouk Mohammed has not given up hope of a spectacular second leg comeback that would require his team to score at least three times to have any chance of survival.

“The heavy loss we suffered in Sudan comes once in a while. Even the strongest clubs sometimes suffer such defeats. Now, so much depends on how we react to it,” he said.

A 3-0 victory for Enyimba after 90 minutes would take the tie straight to a penalty shootout, but if Merrikh score just once in Nigeria, the hosts will need five goals to survive.

Wydad v MalienStade Malien of Mali take a tenuous 1-0 lead to Wydad Casablanca of Morocco, who have won the Champions League, finished runners-up, and been semi-finalists twice in the past five seasons.

The Bamako outfit were the last west African club to win a CAF competition, defeating Entente Setif of Algeria on penalties in the 2009 CAF Confederation Cup final.

But Stade have fared poorly in the Champions League, never reaching the group stage, and will rely heavily on star forward Mamadou Coulibaly if they are to shock Wydad.

Primeiro v ChiefsFamed South African club Kaizer Chiefs have won only three of 14 matches this season in all competitions, and one of those successes was away to PWD Bamenda in the Champions League preliminary round.

That result will offer some hope to coach Gavin Hunt and his underperforming team, which includes Nigeria goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi, Kenya midfielder Anthony Akumu and Zimbabwe forward Khama Billiat.

Primeiro Agosto of Angola, who forced a 0-0 draw in Soweto last month, have been inconsistent Champions League participants, reaching the 2018 semi-finals, but falling at the first hurdle the following year.

Simba v PlatinumSimba of Tanzania caused the biggest shock of the preliminary round by ousting Plateau United of Nigeria thanks to a first-leg goal from Zambian Clatous Chama in west Africa.

One round later and the situation is reversed as they must overcome a 1-0 deficit when they host Platinum of Zimbabwe in Dar es Salaam, where spectators will be permitted despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Platinum have reached the group stage in the last two seasons and will be encouraged by the form of Perfect Chikwende, the first leg match-winner.

Sfaxien v MouloudiaA seven-minute Samy Frioui brace has tilted this north African showdown in favour of Mouloudia Alger of Algeria as they take a 2-0 lead to CS Sfaxien of Tunisia.

Frioui has scored three goals in Africa this season, one less than Firas Chaouat, whose total includes a hat-trick away to Mlandege of Zanzibar in the previous round.

Both clubs have experienced African success with Mouloudia winning the 1976 African Cup of Champions Clubs (forerunner to the Champions League) and Sfaxien lifting the Confederation Cup three times and the CAF Cup once.

Kidnappers Free Enyimba FC Star Dayo Ojo

 

Enyimba FC star, Dayo Ojo, and Abia Comet’s Benjamin Iluyomade have been released by their abductors after they were kidnapped on Sunday.

Dayo and Benjamin were kidnapped while coming back from their teams’ camp on Sunday following the suspension of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) due to the outbreak of the COVID-19.

They were abducted along the Benin-Owo Expressway but three days after, they were released, according to a statement from Enyimba.

READ ALSO: 12 Kidnap Victims Rescued In Katsina

“GREAT BIG NEWS!” the club also tweeted on their verified handle. “Our midfielder man, Dayo Ojo has regained freedom from his kidnappers.”

Their release followed combined efforts from the Aba-based club and their families.

The duo have been reunited with their families, the club’s statement further explained.

Ojo has seven caps for the Super Eagles and featured at the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) were Nigeria placed second.

 

Nigeria Beat Morocco 6-1 To Reach AFCON Beach Soccer Final

Nigeria Beat Morocco 6-1 To Reach AFCON Beach Soccer FinalNigeria’s Super Sand Eagles have qualified for the World Beach Soccer Championship to be held in Bahamas in 2017 after beating Morocco 6-1 in the semifinal of the African Beach Soccer Cup of Nations in Lagos

Goals from Abu Azeez, Suleiman Ogodo, Emeka Ogbona, Emmanuel Owhoferia gave Nigeria victory in what was seen by many as a one-sided game.

Coach Adamu Ejo’s boys will now face Senegal in the final of the tournament later today.

Senegal defeated Egypt 5-2 in the first semifinal and have also qualified for the World Beach Soccer Championship.

AFCON Beach Soccer: CAF Officials, Teams Arrive Nigeria

AFCON Beach Soccer: CAF Officials, Teams Arrive NigeriaThe stage is set for the second edition of the Africa Beach Soccer Cup of Nations to be hosted by Nigeria as officials of the Confederation of African Football arrived in Lagos on Thursday.

CAF Secretariat staff will set up a desk inside the Eko Hotel and Suites on Friday, just as thenff.com learnt on Thursday that all participating teams are to take up their accommodation on Saturday.

The delegations of Ghana, Egypt, Cote d’Ivoire, Madagascar, Libya, Senegal and Morocco will fly into Lagos on Saturday, as host team, the Supersand Eagles, also make the short trip from their Aivoji Beach camp in Badagry to Victoria Island the same day.

Meanwhile, the Ivorian beach soccer national team on Thursday traded tackles with their Moroccan counterparts in an international friendly by both countries ahead of the second edition of Africa Beach Soccer Cup of Nations.

Cote d’Ivoire will face hosts Nigeria, Ghana and Egypt in Group A of the 6–day championship scheduled for the Eko Atlantic City, Victoria Island, from December 13 to 18, 2016.

Morocco will confront Cup holders Madagascar, Libya and Senegal in Group B.

The Moroccans have been in camp since September, and arrived in the Ivorian capital, Abidjan on Monday.

Egypt, who have been in camp since August, participated in the Samsung Invitational Tournament in Dubai before flying to Lebanon, and will play the Lebanese team in a three–match series.

Ghana’s beach soccer team, which sent packing Kenya in the qualifying series, has also been in camp since August.

As part of its preparation for the championship, two–time African champions Nigeria will take on Switzerland in the Copa Lagos Invitational at the Eko Atlantic City on Sunday.

Officials of Kinetic Sports, organizers of the COPA Lagos Invitational that is being reduced to a one-day show this year as a result of the Africa Beach Soccer Cup of Nations, confirmed to thenff.com that the Swiss contingent is expected in Nigeria on Friday.

Enyimba FC of Aba will take on Pepsi Academy in a curtain raiser for the Nigeria/Switzerland match on Sunday, which kicks off at 4PM.

It is an opportunity for Coach Audu Adamu Ejo to see the level of fitness and tactical awareness of his players, who have been perfecting strategies at the Aivoji Beach, Badagry for several weeks.

Players in Supersand Eagles’ camp: Goalkeepers Godwin Anyalogu (Rivers United FC), Godwin Tale (FC Lokoja), Nurudeen Mudashiru (Kada Stars) and Majid Danladi Mohammed (Kwande Academy; defenders Lukman Ibrahim (Kada Stars), Ogbonnaya Okemiri (Abia Warriors), Taiwo Adams (Owibeseb FC), Godspower Igudia (Akwa United), Victor Tale (Bassa United) and Emmanuel Owheferia (Owibeseb FC) and; forwards Bartholomew Ibenegbu (Enyimba FC), Emeka Ogbonna (Leads United), Suleiman Ogodo (FC IfeanyiUbah), Abu Azeez (Enyimba FC), Kunle Olukotun (Shooting Stars), Sunday Alasco (Kada Stars), Abubakar Isah (Anambra BS), Badmus Babatunde (Owibeseb FC) and Clement Fayowole (Leads United)

FC Ifeanyi Ubah Win 2016 Federation Cup Final 

FC Ifeanyi Ubah Win 2016 Federation Cup Final FC Ifeanyi Ubah, have clinched a first-ever Federation Cup after they beat Nasarawa United 5-4 on penalties in the final after both teams failed to score in regulation time.

Fc Ifeanyi Ubah impressively converted all their kicks, while their keeper Uche Okafor saved one from Nasarawa United.

The Nnewi club, will now represent Nigeria in the 2017 CAF Confederation Cup.

It was the first time these two clubs would play in the final of the oldest football competition in Nigeria.

FC Ifeanyi Ubah defeated giant killers, Crown FC 2-1 while Nasarawa United shocked tournament favorites, Enyimba FC 1-0 to set the tone for an epic final.

Rivers Angels earlier emerged champions of the 2016 Federation Cup in the women’s final against Bayelsa United.

 Rafiat Sule got the opener in the 20th minute for the United but her celebration did not last long as Osinachi Ohale levelled the scoreline five minutes later.

Both sides were unable to break the deadlock in the second half.

The game consequently headed to penalties for the second successive year and Rivers Angels won the title 5-3 on penalties.

Both finals of the 2016 Federation Cup were played on Sunday at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos.

Rivers Angels Are 2016 Federation Cup Champions

Rivers Angels, Bayelsa United, Federation CupRivers Angels have emerged champions of the 2016 Federation Cup in an entertaining final against Bayelsa United.

Rafiat Sule got the opener in the 20th minute for the United on Sunday afternoon at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos.

However, her celebration did not last long as Osinachi Ohale levelled the scoreline five minutes later.

Both sides were unable to break the deadlock in the second half.

The game consequently headed to penalties for the second successive year.

Rivers Angels won the title 5-3 on penalties.

Meanwhile, FC Ifeanyi Ubah have expressed readiness to confront premier league rivals, Nasarawa United in the men’s finals at the same venue.

It is the first both two clubs would play in the final of the oldest football competition in Nigeria.

FC Ifeanyi Ubah defeated giant killers, Crown FC 2-1 while Nasarawa United stunned tournament favourites, Enyimba FC 1-0 to set the tone for an epic clash.

The Nigeria Football Federation has announced that the gates would be opened for fans watch the game for free.

NPFL: Kano Pillars Sanctioned For Crowd Violence

Kano PillarsFour-time Nigerian champions Kano Pillars have been slammed with a 2.4 million Naira fine for the bad behaviour of their fans during a league game.

The League Management Company (Lmc) sanctioned the Kano club for the poor conduct of their fans during the match against Enyimba at the Sani Abacha Stadium on Wednesday.

Kano Pillars are to compensate an Enyimba official with the sum of 250,000 Naira following injuries he sustained from an alleged attack during the commotion at the stadium.

Enyimba will also be paid 150,000 Naira for their damaged vehicle at the stadium.

NPFL: Rangers Extend Lead, Ikorodu United’s Struggle Continues

NPFLMatchday nine of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) produced 21 goals (2.1 goals per game), six home wins, three draws and one away victory.

Enugu Rangers consolidated their lead on top of the league table to two points with a hard fought 2-1 win against oriental rivals Enyimba FC of Aba.

Joseph Osadiaye got the champions in front in the 14th minute, when he curled in Ikechukwu Ibenegbu’s lofty pass from the edge of the area. Godwin Aguda levelled terms for the Flying Antelopes in the 21st minute from a Bobby Clement assist. Clement again turned provider for Chisom Egubuchulam, who finished it with a fine goal eight minutes to the break.

In Owerri, Heartland FC saw off a difficult Giwa FC challenge with a 2-0 win, which saw Roland Koffi smashing home a cracker at the death.

Shagari Mohammed was the hero in Kano, providing assists for Prince Aggreh and Suleman Usman to slot in the goals in the 28th and 47th minutes respectively. Pillars move into second place on the log.

In Jos, MFM FC played 1-1 away to Plateau United. The result increases pressure on head coach, Zachary Baraje, who has been asked to spring results or face the music.

Federation Cup champions, Akwa United, held Wikki Tourists to a barren draw at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium, Bauchi, despite being without their technical adviser, Maurice Cooreman, who failed to travel with the team due to illness. The home side will have Godwin Obaje to blame for failing to convert outright opportunities in the opening half.

In Akure, Tope Orelope’s equalizer in the 63rd minute, appeared to have secured a point for Shooting Stars, but that was not the outcome, as the Akure Gunners snatched a late winner through Okiki Afolabi. Dele Olorundare also had a goal to his name in the sixth minute.

Elsewhere, Abia Warriors grabbed a narrow 1-0 win at home to Niger Tornadoes, at the Umuahia Township Stadium through Chisom Chikatara’s late goal. Ladan Bosso’s El-Kanemi side thrashed Nasarawa United 3-0 in Katsina, while Warri Wolves drew goalless with visiting Lobi Stars at the Warrior Township Stadium.

Rivers United appear to have finally found their rhythm, edging newcomers Ikorodu United in a five-goal thriller at the Onikan Waterfront.

Guy Kuemian got the visitors in front, in the ninth minute before the home side levelled terms through Ifegwu Ojukwu just before the quarter of an hour mark. Nonso Okonkwo and Wilson Andoh put the game beyond the Lagos side before the break, with stunning goals.

Ikorodu United’s late chase only aided them to reduce the deficit through Ojukwu, before end of proceedings. But Ojukwu’s brace proved too little to help them avoid a fifth defeat on the bounce as they drop to second from bottom.

After the game, new technical adviser, Sam Okpodu described the team as young and inexperienced.

”This team has a lot of learning to do and with time they will understand themselves and start getting the desired results” he concluded.

Siasia Bars Three Players From Eagles’ Camp

SiasiaCoach Samson Siasia has barred defender Segun Oduduwa and midfielders Stanley Dimgba and Usman Mohammed from showing up at the Bolton White Apartments camp of the Super Eagles.

This is coming after the players reported late to the camp of the U-23 team without an earlier permission from the Coach.

“We cannot have those three in camp anymore. This is very serious business, and only serious-minded persons can be involved. They reported late to the camp of the Under-23 team, so they cannot be tolerated in the camp of the senior team.

“I have said it over the past few days that the right mentality would count big among the traits we are looking for in the players to feature against Egypt,” he said.

Oduduwa and Mohammed were in the Under-23 squad that won the Africa Under-23 Cup of Nations in Senegal in December 2015, while Dimgba has trained with the team and the Eagles B previously.

The Super Eagles’ new boss, who is known to be a disciplinarian, threw out star midfielder Kingsley Sokari, and talented forward Daniel Etor from his squad to the Africa Under-23 Cup of Nations, after the duo opted to play for their club, Enyimba FC, in a final NPFL season game in Lagos in November 2015, against his instructions.

The exclusion of the trio means only 40 players are now in contention for shirts in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations double date against Egypt, with 19 home boys to train for two weeks before the arrival of 21 overseas-based players on the week of the first game in Kaduna.

Nigerian Premier League: Warri Wolves Set For 2016

Warri WolvesThe management of Warri Wolves FC has commenced preparation for its participation in this year’s Nigerian Premier League (NPL).

Unveiling 14 new players for the season formed part of its preparation, amidst training and rehabilitation of the Warri stadium in Delta State.

Some of the newly unveiled players, Oladele Ajiboye and King Osange, also expressed optimisms that the football club would achieve great feat in the 2016 edition of the NPL.

Warri Wolves finished second in the just concluded GLO Premier League behind Enyimba FC of Aba.

In another development, the Delta Force team have come back after a long absence from the league.

Playing in the second division of the league for the first time, they have promised to do their best to get to the NPL.

The team’s coach, Napolion Aloma, appealed to the government for further assistance to help them achieve their goals.