The last remaining Nigerian clubs in CAF Club competitions this season, Rivers United and Enyimba, have left the country ahead of their first-leg games in the Confederation Cup and Champions League respectively.
Rivers United, who are campaigning in the Confederations Cup, on Sunday announced via their Twitter handle that their 38-man contingent has touched down in Johannesburg ahead of Wednesday’s crunch clash against PSL side Bloemfontein Celtic.
The club wrote: “A 38-man contingent of Rivers United have touched down in Johannesburg South Africa ahead of CAF Confederation Cup first round tie on Wednesday against Bloemfontein Celtic.
*RIVERS UNITED UPDATE*
A 38 man contingent of Rivers United have touched down in Johannesburg South Africa ahead of CAF Confederation Cup first round tie on Wednesday against Bloemfontein Celtic.
The Air Peace fight touched down at the Johannesburg airport at 10:24am pic.twitter.com/zDPDbUSzyv
— Rivers United FC (@RiversUnitedFC) December 20, 2020
“The Air Peace flight touched down at the Johannesburg airport at 10:24 am.”
Before now, the Garden City team had accused the South African authorities of trying to scuttle their travel plans with deliberate delay in issuing travel visas.
That obviously is settled now as coach Stanley Eguma and his team are now in town for their playoff round.
Eguma is very positive about Rivers United’s chances of progressing ahead of their South African opponents.
In an interview on Brila Radio, Eguma assured that all hands are on the deck to see the team progress to the next phase of the second-tier continental club competition.
“We have a very good chance going forward, it’s just that my players must be in their right frame of minds and again you know, they need to be focused, the team is working round the clock, the management is solidly behind the team and I believe that, if we put our acts together to make sure we arrive on time to have enough rest, we will do well,” Eguma said.
As for Enyimba who are campaigning in the CAF Champions League, they announced their departure to Sudan on Sunday also via their Twitter handle.
The club wrote: “We what? … We MOOOVE! #TogetherForVictory”
— Enyimba FC (@EnyimbaFC) December 20, 2020
Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Al Merrikh will be the first time Enyimba will be meeting the Sudanese club.
However, the Al Hilal Stadium in Omdurman, where the match will be played, is in no way an unfamiliar pitch for the People’s Elephant.
Merrikh’s traditional ground, the Al Merrikh Stadium, is currently undergoing renovation meaning The Mars will host Enyimba in the home of their fierce rivals, just a street away.
Both Enyimba and Rivers United will hope they do not suffer the fate of Plateau United in their respective games.
The Peace Boys claimed their host mischievously tested two of their key players as COVID-19 positive just to weaken them.
The former Nigerian League champions have threatened to report Simba SC to CAF over the matter.