CAF Confederation Cup: Enyimba, Rivers get tough tests

CAF Confederation Cup: Enyimba, Rivers get tough tests

Enyimba International of Aba and Rivers United have been drawn against North African teams in the group stage playoffs round of the Confederation Cup.

The draw took place at the CAF headquarters in Cairo on Tuesday.

Rivers United, who crashed out of the Champions League, will face Al Masry with the winners of the tie advancing to the competition’s group stage, while Enyimba battle Libya’s Al Ittihad.

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The People’s Elephant, who drew bye for the preliminary stage of the competition, defeated Senegal’s Diambars 4-0 on aggregate to qualify for the playoff round.

They will play their first leg away from home on November 28, before welcoming Ittihad to the Enyimba Stadium in Aba for the return leg on December 5.

This second times Enyimba will be facing the Libyan Al Ittihad.

Enyimba were 1-0 winners against Ittihad at home in 2011, having drawn the away tie goalless. The eight-time Nigeria Professional Football League champions will be hoping to go past the quarter-finals, where they crashed out in their last campaign.

Rivers United on the other hand will be hoping to avoid defeat for the second consecutive time in the hands of a North African side when they face modest Egyptian club Al Masry.

The Egyptian side have only met a Nigerian side once in a knockout phase. They beat FC IfeanyiUbah 3-0 on penalties after both legs ended 1-1 in the preliminary phase of the Confederation Cup in 2017.

The ‘Pride of Rivers’ will prosecute the first leg at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt on November 28 before travelling to Egypt for the second leg on December 5.

Rivers United captain, Festus Austin, believes his side have learnt their lesson from their CAF Champions League first-round loss to Sudanese giants Al Hilal and will use the experience in outwitting Egypt’s Al Masry to reach the group stage of the CAF Confederation Cup.

“We’ve learnt our lessons against a North African team, we lost the game from our own home,” Austin told PUNCH Sport Extra.

“We had the opportunity to wrap the game up in Port Harcourt but we couldn’t take our chances and lost.

“Ahead of the game against Al Masry, we just have to remain positive and see how we can make the country proud in the playoffs. I believe we will overcome them and make it to the group stage.”

PUNCH

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