Two of Nigeria’s four teams in the CAF Confederation Cup, MFM of Lagos and Akwa United of Uyo on Sunday lost their respective fixtures in the play-off of the CAF Confederation Cup and therefore walk tight on ropes in the quest for berth into the group stage of the competition.
While MFM lost 0-1 to visiting Djoliba of Mali at its famed ‘Soccer Temple’, the Agege Stadium, Akwa United lost 2-0 away to Al Hilal of Sudan and will require a three unreplied goal tally to sail through or a 2-0 win that may lead into penalty shoo-out.
For Mountain of Fire and Miracles (MFM), there is really fire on the mountain as they have a huge mountain to climb in the reversed fixtures in Mali. They have zero option and are condemned to win the away the away fixture.
The back-breaking away goal was scored for Djoliba in the 78th minute by Mohamodou Cisse and could be the avenging act for the Malians whose other team’s exit in the more prestigious entry in the Champions league was occasioned by MFM who beat As Real Bamako.
In Sudan, Akwa United put up a spirited effort but lost. The home side took the lead in the 20th minute through Ali Sadig Mousa.
Dropping out will have effect on Nigeria’s entries in next year’s continental competitions as it will affect the coefficient of the country. Even Plateau United that won 2-1 narrowly at home will need to brace up to avert a possible elimination by USM Alger of Algeria.
As at the beginning of this year’s continental calendar, Nigeria stayed at the base of 12 countries allowed to present two teams for each of the two continental competitions. Poor performance this year could mean that only the league champions and the cup winners will go continental next season.