Abuja - The Nigeria Football Federation has commended the
efforts of Nigerian champions, Enyimba FC in reaching the group stage of the
CAF Champions League, but will lodge a strong protest to the Confederation of
African Football over the conduct of Etoile du Sahel’s supporters in Sousse on
NFF President Amaju Pinnick said: “What happened around the
Stade Olympique in Sousse on Wednesday bordered on extreme intimidation of the
opposition. This is not football. Football is about peace, about love and about
“When Etoile du Sahel came to Nigeria, we provided
everything to them, including a friendly football arena. We will lodge a strong
protest to CAF on this matter.”
A miffed Pinnick said on Thursday morning that if it came to
personally delivering the protest at the CAF headquarters in Cairo, he would be
willing and ready to do so.
“We will wait for the team to return from Tunisia so that we
can get the full details of what transpired.
“However, we are delighted at Enyimba’s qualification. They
have shown that they are truly very much experienced on the road. They
withstood everything thrown at them and scaled through. That is the stuff of
Also read: Enyimba survive Etoile scare to reach CAF CL group stage
Pinnick also pledged that the NFF will continue to give
Enyimba all the backing as they go for a third CAF Champions League title. “The
NFF Board made the decision at its last meeting to give Enyimba FC full support
to go for the African title. Nothing has changed.”
NFF’s Acting Director of Competitions, Bola Oyeyode said
from Sousse on Wednesday night that a tense and intimidating atmosphere
prevailed throughout the match, with Nigerian players and officials serially
pelted with various objects.
Hamza Lahmar scored with three minutes left in the first
half through a free –kick, and Diego Acosta hit a brace in the 61st and 71st
minutes to cancel out Enyimba’s first leg advantage.
Enyimba’s Mfon Udoh, who scored all of People’s Elephants’
goals in the first leg in Port Harcourt, and forward Christian Pyagbara missed
the Nigerians’ first two kicks in the shoot –out, stacking the odds against the
2003 and 2004 winners.
But goalkeeper Theophilus Afelokhai turned hero after he
saved three successive kicks in the shoot –out to see Enyimba FC through to the
group stage on 4-3 penalty shoot –out triumph.For
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