BY KUNLE SOLAJA.
Eyes are on Nigeria’s duo of Enyimba and Remo Stars as both strive to turn around their first leg away slim losses in the opening round of the CAF Champions League this Sunday.
Should both scale through into the next round, it will be the first time in many seasons that Nigeria will have a full attendance of its quartet teams advancing into the penultimate round to the group stages of both the Champions League and Confederation Cup League.
Both Bendel Insurance and Rivers United are already in the next round of Confederation Cup.
In the more challenging Champions League, Remo Stars at home will face Ghana’s Medeama SC in the return leg of Round One after losing 1-0 last Sunday in Cape Coast.
They will need a two goal margin to advance. Alternatively, should they win by one unreplied goal, they have the lottery of penalty shoot-out to contend with.
But the club is set to avert any possible heartache. Head technical, Tiago Conde noted that only the first half of the fixture had been played and that the second half is what will unfold in Ikenne this Sunday.
The Portuguese is optimistic of Remo Stars scaling into the next round to face Guinea’s Horoya.
Joining him in the optimism is Remo Stars captain, Nduka Junior who pointed at last Sunday’s second half performance of Remo Stars as an indication of what fans should expect this Sunday.
In Aba, the odds greatly weigh in favour Enyimba whose three away goals become very valuable. A 1-0 win sees them through into the next round as they hope to dispatch Libya’s Al Ahli Benghazi.
Coach Finidi George has maintained a positive outlook ahead of the match which kicks off at the Enyimba Stadium at 3pm Nigerian time.
“We are sad that we lost the first leg game after a great performance from the boys. It could have easily ended in a draw but for that late goal we conceded.
“I must commend the players for putting up a great fight against a very formidable home team. The crowd was also intimidating but our players did not let that affect them.
“Of course, there are areas that we must improve upon, but looking at the game generally, I see more positives than negatives.
Enyimba captain, Olorunleke Ojo has called on fans of the club to come in large numbers to support the club against Al Ahli Benghazi on Sunday, at the Enyimba Stadium.
Ojo said the team needs the support of fans to spur them to victory against the Libyans, in a game the People’s Elephants must win.
“All we need is support, togetherness and unity. We are not giving up. We are going to win, that is for sure. We are going to qualify. I believe in everyone of us.”
The Super Eagles goalkeeper noted that the team would be in top shape, physically and mentally in order to achieve their aim of making it to the next round of the CAF Champions League.
“Before the next game, we would have corrected all the mistakes and would have rested well. We are going to come out good in the second leg on Sunday.”
Enyimba returns to Aba, where they have won two games on the continent under Finidi George and Ojo is confident that the fans in Aba will replicate the support the Libyan side got in Benghazi.
“Our fans will do the same. If we can get that support, nothing will stop us. Individually we are going to sit up. All we need is support.”