Enyimba International Football Club are keen to become the first Nigerian club to win the CAF Confederation Cup.
As they pursue this dream, they will be up against Algerian side ES Setif in their fourth match in the group phase.
The People’s Elephant are currently top in Group A with six points from three games and avoiding a defeat in Algeria Sunday night will boost the chances of the Nigerian flagbearers making it to the next phase of the continental club competition.
Ahead of the crucial clash at Stade du 8 Mai 1945, Enyimba head coach Fatai Osho and captain Austin Oladapo at Saturday’s pre-match press conference expressed optimism of getting a good result despite the myriad of challenges they have faced going into Sunday’s tie.
The Enyimba coach said: “The travel was long, bearing in mind the present situation of the coronavirus all around the world which is not peculiar to Nigeria or Algeria alone.
“We had to go to Qatar and then from there all the way to Algiers, from Algiers we had to use the bus in a four and a half hour trip to Setif which is a really tasking journey, but then, we’ve been able to recover, we had our rest, today we had a good rest and tomorrow we will have some rest also before we play the match by tomorrow evening. But I must tell it’s not been an easy journey at all.”
On whether Setif’s bottom position will reflect in Sunday’s tie, the Enyimba coach said: “Their (ES Setif’s) position also, I want to believe they are not that comfortable. I believe strongly that they deserve more than where they are, looking at the standard of their play, but unfortunately, they find themselves in that position.
“They will like to come out of it and one of the avenues of coming out of that situation that they are in is to do well against us and we are quite aware of that.
“On our part, we want to qualify also. We know a result here will give us the opportunity to get close to a quarterfinal ticket, it’s not going to be easy but I think we’re ready for the task.”
On his part, the Enyimba captain Austin Oladapo assured that he and his teammates know the importance of Sunday’s game and they are ready to approach it with all the seriousness it deserves.
“We know tomorrow’s (Sunday) game is going to be a very big one for us. We have a positive mindset we’re coming here to play… We just want to get a very good result that will give us hope to qualify from the group stage.” Oladapo said.
He added: “The Setif side is a very good team, they play very well, but we’ve seen them play and we’ve worked on ourselves and we’ll give a good account of ourselves. We’re enjoying the place the weather is good and the environment is lovely and by tomorrow we’ll express ourselves the more.
“Our main objective now is for us to qualify from the group stage and I think we are halfway there, and tomorrow’s game will speak better for us at the end of the day. After then our next objective will be to qualify all through to the final.”
Though Enyimba are two-time African champions having been successful in the CAF Champions League, they have fallen short in all their previous attempts at winning the Confederation Cup which suffices as Africa’s Europa League.