05 March 2018 08:41
Enyimba coach Paul Aigbogun has tagged Energie as a ‘Cinderella’ team to be feared when the two sides lock horns in the 1/16th first leg on Wednesday, 7 March 2018 away in Cotonou.
The Beninese side recorded one of the upsets of the preliminary round by eliminating three -time African champions, Hafia of Guinea, after a 1-1 draw in the return leg in Conakry earned them passage 2-1 on aggregate.
“We were looking at the possibility of playing Hafia of Guinea in the first round but it’s interesting how Energie came through from the preliminary round and that means they are a good side that should not be underrated,” Aigbogun told CAFOnline.com ahead of Wednesday’s first leg.
“The good thing is that we (Enyimba) are doing well in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) and we can take such good form to the continent. Our preparation towards the game against Energie is well on course.
“I wouldn’t want to single out any player as the star man; we want to go all out and show the quality we have. We are working really hard to make good impression this time and I believe the players are ready to do their best too”.
Enyimba used to be a force to be reckoned with on the continent following their stellar performances in the early 2000 when they became the first Nigerian club side to win the CAF Champions League in 2003, a title they successfully defended in 2004.
“Though we haven’t won any continental trophy recently, we are still a strong team and I’m confident we can do well this time in the CAF Confederation Cup,” assured Aigbogun who is in his third spell with Enyimba.
Aigbogun believes his previous experiences with the club as an assistant coach in 2013 and as substantive coach during their unsuccessful CAF Champions League campaign in 2016, would come in handy during this campaign.
“Enyimba is a top club; a very ambitious side and it’s a privilege to be associated with the club over the years.
“I can’t say exactly this is how far we can go in this year’s CAF Confederation Cup but I have a good idea about how things work on the continent. We are going to give a good account of ourselves this time around”.
Enyimba according to Aigbogun, have quality players in the side including the duo of striker Ibrahim Mustapha and goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa who were the mainstays of the Nigeria squad that finished runners up at the recently concluded Total African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Morocco.
“I don’t think any team on the continent would think it would be easy playing against a team from Nigeria; we have quality in the team and we are doing everything to ensure we have a good outing starting with our first round match against Energie.”
Elsewhere, Akwa United midfielder Cyril Olisema has equally tipped his side to overcome Al-Ittihad of Libya.
“I was very happy to have scored the vital goals that secured our qualification to the 1/16th round and this has really boosted my confidence ahead of our next match against Al-Ittihad,” Olisema who scored the winning brace against Hawks FC in Banjul, told CAFOnline.com
“I don't believe it is difficult to play against North African teams; we have to be psychologically prepared. If we play to instructions and adopt the same mentality as we did against Hawks FC in Banjul, we would definitely smile home,” he noted.
Tuesday, 6 March 2018
Petro Atletico (Angola) vs Supersport (South Africa)
Motema Pembe (DR Congo) vs Deportivo Niefang (Equatorial Guinea)
CS La Mancha (Congo) vs Ahly Shandy (Sudan)
CR Belouizdad (Algeria) vs Nkana (Zambia)
RS Berkane (Morocco) vs Club Africaine (Tunisia)
Raja Club Athletic (Morocco) vs Nouadhibou (Mauritania)
Wednesday, 7 March 2018
Costa Do Sol (Mozambique) vs Cape Town (South Africa)
Energie (Benin) vs Enyimba (Nigeria)
Djoliba (Mali) vs APR (Rwanda)
Port Louis (Mauritius) vs FOSA Junior (Madagascar)
AS Maniema (DR Congo) vs USM Alger (Algeria)
Olympic (Burundi) vs Hilal Obied (Sudan)
Al Ittihad (Libya) vs Akwa United (Nigeria)
CARA (Congo) vs US Ben Guerdane (Tunisia)
Simba (Tanzania) vs El Masry (Egypt)
Wolaitta Dicha (Ethiopia) vs Zamalek (Egypt)