NIGERIAN CONNECTION IN CAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL

NIGERIAN CONNECTION IN CAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL

BY KUNLE SOLAJA.

 

It is14 years since a Nigerian club last featured in the final match of Africa’s premier inter clubs competition, the CAF Champions League.

 

But Nigerian players have sometimes been part of the excitement. This year may not be an exception if Oluwafemi Ajayi, better known as Junior Ajayi is certified medically fit for the potentially explosive Al Ahly –Esperance clashes.

 

The Nigerian player had been sidelined for the greater part of the season owing to a rupture in his medial collateral ligament during a fourth round of the Champions League group stage.

 

But according to Egyptian publication, Kingfut last Sunday, Al Ahly medical team confirmed that Ajayi will return to training sessions after three weeks, assuring that the player’s recovery progress is going well. He may not be in action in the first leg, but could feature in the return leg in Tunisia.

 

Last year when Al Ahly and Esperance clashed in the quarter-finals of Champions League, it was Ajayi’s goal that made the difference, making the Egyptian club to progress.

 

In 2016 final in which Egypt’s Zamalek lost 3-1 on aggregate to South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns, it was Nigeria’s Stanley Ohawuchi who scored the consolatory goal for the Egyptians.

 

Similarly in 1993, in winning their third African title, Zamalek of Egypt benefitted from the skills of Nigeria’s Emmanuel Amuneke who was one of the scorers in the penalty shootout of the final match with Ghana’s Asante Kotoko.

 

As for Esperance, the club had a Nigerian striker, Michael Eneramo whose first minute goal, eight years ago enabled the club to overcome Al Ahly in the 2010 CAF Champions League semifinal return leg.

 

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