BY APESIN ADEMOLA.
CAF Confederation Cup campaigners Enyimba have joined 15 other teams now waiting on the Nigeria Football Federation for the group phase draw of this year’s Aiteo Cup.
In a rescheduled Round of 32 match at Nnewi on Wednesday, the People’s Elephants, who returned two days earlier from Rwanda where they play Rayon Sports in CAF Confederation Cup, sent Dynamite FC of Edo State out of the race.
Goals by Chinedu Udeagha in the 25th minute and another by Stephen Chukwude in the first minute of added time earn Enyimba victory.
The four-time winners of the oldest football competition in Nigeria will now resume preparation for the return fixture of their CAF Confederation Cup quarterfinals with the Rwandese club, scheduled for Sunday in Aba. The first leg last Sunday ended goalless.
Enyimba become the 13th team from the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) to qualify for the Aiteo Cup group stage.
The others include reigning champions Akwa United (two-time winners) and Enugu Rangers, who have lifted the trophy five times.
Others include Rivers United (an amalgamation of Dolphins and Sharks), El-Kanemi Warriors, Plateau United, Wikki Tourists and Kano Pillars, all former champions.
The other NPFL clubs are Sunshine Stars, Nasarawa United, Kwara United, Katsina United and Abia Warriors.
The three teams from the lower divisions in the group stage are Kogi United (Kogi State), Supreme Court FC (FCT) and J. Atete FC.
The group phase is scheduled to start on Monday, September 24, 2018, a day after Enyimba’s continental assignment.
It will run for five days with the top two teams in each group engaged in the quarterfinals on October 3, while the semi-finals come up four days later.
Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba will host the final on October 14, a day before the CAF deadline to submit the inter-club competitions’ representatives. Nigeria will register the Aiteo Cup champions for the CAF Confederation Cup.
Lobi Stars have already been put up for the Champions League. The Makurdi side were the topmost club in the 2017/18 NPFL before the crisis that rocked Nigerian football made it impossible to conclude the league.