The CAF Champions League is the second greatest football competition in Africa – only second to the African Cup of Nations which holds biannually. The CAF Champions League is the biggest club football competition in Africa akin to the UEFA Champions League. It is the gateway to the annual FIFA World Club Championship where the winners of the corresponding competitions compete.
CAF Champions League winners started to participate in the FIFA Club Championship in 2005, a year after Enyimba won the CAF Champions League. I had hoped that Enyimba will feature in the 2004 edition or retain the trophy for a third time to rub shoulders with the big boys from Europe, Asia, North and South America.
Tonight, Nigeria has the chance of having a representative in the “Money-spinning” group phase of the CAF Champions League for the first time since 2012. The Peoples Elephant themselves have been knocked out before the group stage in the last 2 editions. They have a chance tonight against Etoile du Sahel of Tunisia – a major powerhouse in Africa.
Enyimba and Etoile have had previous African encounters with the former taking every available trophy at stake within the encounters. The Tunisians were blown apart in Port Harcourt in the first leg and had key man Akaichi sent off. It was an evening in Port Harcourt but it will be chilling night in Sousse.
The Blue boys from Aba are in Sousse and should be ready for tonight’s do-or-die affair with Etoile but the 3-0 first leg win provides them with a very long fork to dine in the house of the Tunisians. I look at the Etoile Mascot and I see the long fork, very needful for the Nigerians. They must maintain their composure, avoid unnecessary cautions and yellow cards which can trigger an avalanche of reds.
There is more to football than kicking the ball in one direction. The North Africans are masters of such antics and Paul and his Enyimba team must overcome such psychological challenge as the only hope in for Nigeria. Etoile have the capacity to score as many goals as they please seeing the impressive home record this season but you may need to contact Messi and his Barcelona gang about records – they always end.
Enyimba can even nick a counter-attacking 1-0 win to silence the crowd tonight. Enyimba is willing to help Etoile retain the CAF Confederation Cup and they will do everything in the power to achieve that aim. Remember the battle
of Alamo in the 2004 Final. Expect Mfon Udoh to increase his goal tally again.
Tonight!!! N’abali Taa!!! Tonight!!! N’abali Taa!!!, we dine in