Nigerian teams had mixed contiental results on Sunday.
It all started in Enugu where Rangers International FC needed to overturn a first leg 2-1 defeat to AS Pelican of Gabon. The home fans were stunned with an early goal from the visitors. Dertin converted a freekick in the 5th minute to make the tie slip further away from Flying Antelopes.
But Ifeanyi George equalized 13 minutes later for Rangers before Nnamdi Egbuhor put Rangers ahead in the 51st minute. Ibrahim Olawoyin made it three for Rangers six minutes later and ended the tie 4-3 on aggregate in favour of Rangers.
The 3-1 win in Enugu was Rangers’ 36th match in the CAF Confederations Cup. Only Rivers United (+Dolphins FC) have played as much in the same competition. The Flying Antelopes progress to the playoff round of the competition – their third in four seasons. Will they reach the group stage?
Attention shifted to Thies, Senegal and Omdurman, Sudan where Nigeria and Enyimba had decisive matches respectfully. The Super Eagles needed to defeat Togo to progress to the WAFU cup quarter finals but they lost (again) 2-1.
The loss means they have stepped down to the quarter final of the Plate competition. Can they pick themselves up and win the Plate? Will the team continue to ship in goals with same back five? Coach Imama sees this competition as a preparation to the U23 AFCON and CHAN 2020 Qualifier. Nigeria will face Cape Verde on October 5.
In Sudan, Enyimba lost 1-0 to host Al Hilal and thus crashed out of the CAF Champions League into the playoff round of the Confederations Cup. The Peoples Elephant were held 0-0 in the first leg in Aba but failed to replicate their last 2 visits to Sudan where they scored twice.
These three teams – Rangers, Enyimba and Super Eagles (home based) will make do with the lesser competitions. Nigeria’s double slots on the continent may be in jeopardy if the clubs fail to progress to the group stage of the CAF Confederations Cup.
The extended league break is not helping matters either. The Cup draw is slated for October 9 with first leg scheduled for October 27 weekend. If the league indeed starts by October 22, the teams will have had just 1 league match played.
Irrespective of the results, Nigeria needs to take a step back and reaarange its football. It is currently not where you would expect a 59 year old country to be.
Happy Independence to Nigeria.
Photocredit: Twitter Pictures