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CAF Confederation Cup




Nigeria-born striker Sakin Bolaji would in footballing terms be a ‘public enemy number one’ when his Horoya Athletic Club of Guinea tackle Enyimba in the CAF Confederation Cup quarter final first leg tie in Aba on Sunday.

The 25-year-old free scoring striker from South-Western part of Nigeria started his professional football career with Abia Warriors en route to playing in the Nigerian topflight with Wikki Tourists and Rivers United.

“Of course, I have scored against Enyimba before and I think that was in a league match played in Bauchi when I was with Wikki Tourists,” Bolaji, the moustachioed striker, told

“I just love the style (wearing beards) and it sort of gives me some confidence as a man.”

The broad-shouldered Bolaji indeed cuts a courageous image and could be said to be a proof to the postulation that men that wear beards are dominant and rugged.

Incidentally, Bolaji has shown his scoring prowess since he joined Horoya in 2017 from Rivers United. 


In his first season with Horoya, Bolaji scored seven goals and notched ten the following season – the year that coincided with the club’s domestic treble when they won the Guinea Ligue 1; Guinea National Cup and Guinea Super Cup.

Though he has yet to score a goal in the current campaign occasioned by an injury lay-off, he is racing against fitness ahead of the eagerly awaited quarter final battle against Enyimba.

“I’m yet to score this season because I was injured at the beginning of the CAF Confederation Cup campaign.

“I am back to full fitness and have featured in two matches,” explained Bolaji who scored two goals in the 2017 Total CAF Confederation Cup for Rivers United against Uganda’s KCCA and Morocco’s FUS Rabat. 

“I have no scoring secrets other than hard work and assisting my team to score.

“I will be happy to score against Enyimba in Aba in front of some of my friends and family members that will come for the match.


“It is an important to my team and even more important to me also; we know about Enyimba pedigree both in Nigeria and on the continent but I’m confident we are going to get a good result,” posited Bolaji who revels in the joy of being the first Nigerian to play for Horoya.

Horoya, fondly called ‘HAC’ remain one of the most-feared Guinea side in Nigeria; and older generation would certainly recall with nostalgia how they bundled out Shooting Stars Sports Club of Ibadan on their way to winning the now defunct African Cup Winners’ Cup in 1978.

The Guinean side actually overcame a 3-1 first leg defeat to dispatch Shooting Stars 4-3 on aggregate after they pummelled the Nigerian side 3-0 in the reverse fixture. 

“Horoya are still a very strong force and that is one of the reasons I joined them from Rivers United,” Bolaji, who comes from a large family of nine children, told

“I have experienced both the good and bad times since I came here (Conakry) but the most important thing for me is that I have been playing in the continental competitions since I joined Horoya in 2017.


“There’s little difference between Horoya and many Nigerian teams but I can say Horoya is more organised and very consistent in CAF competitions.”

The Guinea champions have shown such consistency in intervening years since 2002 when they have qualified to play on the continent and have currently achieved a near invincibility without losing any of their six games in the mini-league as they romped to the top of Group B with an impressive 14 points out of available 18. 

“I’m happy we are in the quarter finals of the CAF Confederation Cup,” said Bolaji, who had a couple of goals to his name in the 2018/2019 Total CAF Champions League.

“Qualifying to play in the CAF Champions League in my first season was such a great experience and one of the unforgettable moments for me since being here was the dramatic manner we beat Al Nasr of Libya in the first round.

“We were written off after we lost 3-0 to Al Nasr in Cairo but we won 6-2 back home in Conakry and I scored two of the goals and made one assist.


“This is the kind of mentality we have here at Horoya and it will propel us against any team.

“The match against Enyimba in Aba will be tough but what I know is that we are going to get a positive result ahead of the second leg in Conakry,” affirmed the all-action Bolaji who is a huge fan of Arsenal legend Thierry Henry.



Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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