BY APESIN ADEMOLA.
For neutral fans, it’s mission impossible for Enyimba in Casablanca. The tie was lost in Aba and can no longer be redeemed, they concluded.
Even in their glorious era, the People’s Elephant, CAF Champions League winners in 2003 and 2004, never had their back on the wall losing at home and going into the second leg on away ground. Not at this stage of the competition. Not against a formidable opposition like Raja, three-time African champions and the third-ranked team in the continent at the end of the the 20th century.
But partisan fans never give up. They believe in miracles. They believe Enyimba can score first and return the pressure to their hosts. They will be granted their indulgence.
Enyimba’s coach Usman Ab’dallah is optimistic his squad will scale this seemingly impossible hurdle. His confidence oozes from the recovery of several players from injuries and fatigue of a choked domestic cup campaign ahead of the first leg in Aba. Of great news is the return of keeper Theophilus Afelokhai, the hero in Enyimba’s recent matches who got injured in the first leg.
In the earlier fixture of the day, 2014 CAF Champions League winners AS Vita Club will strive to finish the job at home after battling Al-Masry to a barren end in the first leg.
This is Al-Masry’s third time at this stage of the continent’s second tier club competition. They had lost in the last four in 1994 and 2002.
CAF Confederation Cup (Semifinals second leg):
- Raja Casablanca (Morocco) v Enyimba (Nigeria) (first leg Raja Casablanca 1-0) (8pm)
- AS Vita Club (DR Congo) v Al-Masry (Egypt) (first leg 0-0) (5pm)