BY KUNLE SOLAJA.
Debutants, Remo Stars of Ikenne, Nigeria host the 2005 winners of the CAF Confederation Cup this Sunday at the Remo Stars Stadium. Last Sunday, the Nigerian side forced a soul-lifting 1-1 draw, a rare scoreline for Nigerian clubs in North Africa.
As usual, Sports Village Square takes an in-depth look at the match and comes out with the following points of interest.
- As the CAF Confederation Cup enters its 20th edition, Remo Stars are the 23rd Nigerian club to feature in the competition after the debut by Lobi Stars and Enugu Rangers when the competition began in 2004 following the merger of the then CAF Cup and African Winners Cup
- The Moroccan side, Association’s Sports of Forces Armed Royal (AS FAR) is far older than Remo Stars. The military outfit was founded 64 years ago on 1 September 1958.
- When Adams Olamilekan Alade scored from a flick header in the 49th minute las Sunday in Rabat, he became the first Remo Stars player to score in a competitive international match.
- This match is the biggest encounter to be played by Remo Stars. It is also the first international match to be played in Ikenne.
- The match will be the first CAF inter-clubs duel in Ogun State since the 1 November 1987 Abiola Babes versus Tunis’s Esperance match in Abeokuta and that of 15 November 2003 when Julius Berger beat Tunisia’s Étoile Sportive du Sahel in Abeokuta.
- Remo Stars will be on vengeance mission for most big clubs from Nigeria who have been eliminated from continental championship by AS FAR of Morocco. Of the five Nigerian clubs that have had confrontations with AS FAR, only the former Iwuanyanwu Nationale (now Heartland) ever prevailed. That was in the semi-finals of the old-styled Champions League edition of 1988 when the Nigerian side won 5-3 on penalties after a 4-4 aggregate scores.
Also in the 2009 Champions League, Iwuanyanwu Nationale ousted the Moroccans after winning 3-1 at home and forcing a 1-1 draw in Rabat in the second round of the competition.
Before then, AS FAR eliminated Stationery Stores at the quarter-finals of the 1968 edition. The game went through three legs
Stores won the first leg 1-0 in Lagos but lost the return match in Rabat 2-1. Away goal rule was not in operation at the time.
A third match was played in Dakar Senegal by mutual agreement. After the match finished 2–2 when extra time expired, AS FAR won by drawing of lots.
The next Nigerian sides to face AS FAR were the Wikki Tourists in the 1999 edition of the now discontinued African Winners’ Cup. At the quarter final stage, Wikki Tourists crashed out 3-0 on aggregate.
AS FAR again faced Dolphin of Port Harcourt and Enugu Rangers at the 2005 Confederation Cup. The Moroccans ousted Rangers on away goal rule at the play-off stage. The encounters ended 2-2.
In the final, Dolphins lost 3-1 on aggregate. It is those deplorable records that Remo Stars will be aiming to erase as they confront the Moroccan military outfit.
- Inscribed on the crest of Remo Stars is the figure 33. It symbolizes the number of towns that make up Remo division in Ogun State.