When Rivers United faces Sudan’s Al – Merrikh on Sunday in Port Harcourt in the first leg of Round of 16 of CAF Champions League, they will also be in confrontation with two Nigerian players who are key elements in the Sudanese champion club team.
Kelechi Osunwa, who was born in Rivers State and had featured for Dolphins, one of the two clubs that merged to form Rivers United, will be experiencing a home coming.
Also with him in El- Merrikh is former Super Eagles and Sunshine Stars defender, Kunle Odunlami. Both played important roles in securing the Rivers United versus El-Merrikh clash.
The two Nigerians scored vital goals that ousted Equatorial Guinea’s Sony De Ela Nguema in the preliminary round.
Kelechi Osunwa scored an added time goal that gave El-Merrikh an away 1-0 win in Malabo.
In the return leg, Kunle Odunlami scored in the 29th minute to give El Merrikh a 2-0 lead in the eventual 4-1 win. While not counting the appearances of Dolphins/Eagle Cement and that of Sharks in the continent, Rivers United are technically debutants while El-Merrikh are in their 21st appearance in the CAF Champions League.
The best achievement was getting to the semi finals in 2015.