Lagos - President of Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju
Pinnick, has called on players of Enyimba FC to dig their feet into the ground
and throw out Tunisian giants Etoile Sportive du Sahel from this year’s CAF
Champions League competition when both teams clash in Tunisia on Wednesday.
A potentially –explosive contest of end-to-end action is at
hand when Nigerian champions Enyimba FC tackle Etoile Sportive du Sahel of
Tunisia in a third round, second leg encounter in Sousse on Wednesday.
Both teams are likely to recreate their ‘final battle’ of
2004, in which the People’s Elephant edged the Mediterranean Stars on penalties
at the National Stadium, Abuja for their second successive title.
“We have immense confidence in Enyimba to go all the way.
They have won the title twice before and are by far the most experienced
Nigeria club in Africa. The NFF is giving them the support they need to triumph,”
The Nigerian champions overwhelmed their visitors 3-0 in the
first leg at the Adokiye Amiesieamaka Stadium in Port Harcourt penultimate
weekend, but they would be the first to agree that they have a mountain to
surmount at the Stade Olympique in Tunisia’s second city on Wednesday evening.
“We know what North African teams are capable of. They are
usually very strong and determined at home and also throw a lot of antics into
the arrangements. But we are very, very ready. We expect hostility on and off
the field. We have trained under floodlights and on artificial turf, and we
will give as much as we get,” said Felix Anyansi-Agwu, chairman of Enyimba FC.
Also read: Mfon Udoh’s hat-trick earns Enyimba comfortable win over Etoile
Anyansi-Agwu, a Board member of the Nigeria Football
Federation, is one of the most experienced football administrators in Africa.
He steered Enyimba to their successive CAF Champions League triumphs in 2003
and 2004 and has scooped a boardroom of trophies in his 16 –year stint with the
On Monday, the NFF dispatched its Acting Director of
Competitions, the bilingual Bola Oyeyode, to Tunisia to help the cause of
Enyimba FC. Oyeyode flew through Istanbul to get to Tunis.
Enyimba officials confirmed on Tuesday that officials of the
Embassy of Nigeria in Tunis have been working at mobilizing members of the
Nigerian community in Tunisia to move to Sousse (a distance of 150 kilometres
from Tunis) to support the Nigerian champions.
In their two –legged CAF Champions League final in 2004,
Etoile won the first leg 2-1 at the Stade Olympique, and Enyimba returned the
compliment at the National Stadium, Abuja before winning the ensuing penalty
shoot –out. Etoile Sportive du Sahel are the reigning CAF Confederation Cup
By pedigree and street wisdom, Enyimba should pull through,
to make the group stage of the dollar –spangled Champions League. The loser on
aggregate will drop down to the CAF Confederation Cup.
The Confederation of African Football has appointed Moroccan
referee Noureddine El Jaafari to take charge of proceedings, to be assisted by
compatriots Hicham Abbou and Youssef Mabrouk.
Ivorian Sinko Zeli will be the match commissioner.
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