Nigerian representatives in the 2017 CAF Confederation Cup were knocked out over the weekend while those in the CAF Champions League progressed to the next round.
FC IfeanyiUbah held a 1-0 lead from the first leg in Nnewi a week ago but they went down 1-0 to Al-Masry in Ismaili. The tie had to be decided with penalty kicks. Sadly, the Anambra Warriors could not convert any of their first three spot kicks unlike the Egyptians who converted theirs to win 3-0.
In Bauchi, Wikki Tourists needed to overturn a 2-0 first leg defeat to RSLA FC but they could only get a 1-0 win. It was their first ever win on the continent but it was not enough as they lost 2-1 on aggregate. They even had the luxury of missing a penalty in the first half. Unfortunate.
It was goalless in Enugu where Rangers progressed to the first round of the CAF Champions League thanks to the away goal rule. They held JS Saoura 1-1 in Algeria. A goalless draw was enough. Rangers will now face Zamalek of Egypt.
In Port Harcourt, Rivers United defeated AS Real Bamako 4-0 to progress to the first round of the Champions League. A brace each from Bernard Ovoke and Esosa Igbinobia gave the Pride of Rivers the emphatic win. The first leg ended 0-0 in Bamako. Rivers United will face Al-Merriekh of Sudan in the next round.
So the teams have been halved on the contienet. The consequence of Wikki Tourists and FC IfeanyiUbah’ failure to progress beyond the preliminary stages may be felt in the 2019 competitions.
Rangers and Rivers United will play at least four more continental matches this year. They could either progress to the CAF Champions League group stage or need play offs to play in the CAF Confederation Cup group stage. Hard times for Nigeria.
In the NPFL, El-Kanemi Warriors stunned Abia Warriors in Umuahia to record their first away win in the NPFL since July 2013. Plateau United were 2-0 winners of Niger Tornadoes. The remaining matches ended in draws.
The table looks false now with a lot of outstanding matches involving the teams on the continent. Can Rangers dig up from the bottom? Will El-kanemi Warriors maintain the 2nd spot?
That was the weekend for me.
Photo Credit: LMC