Three of Nigeria’s four teams in CAF club competitions are at the risk of suffering early exits unless they get it right in their second leg games this weekend.
In the Confederation Cup, both Rivers United and Kano Pillars lost their first leg games played away from home and must now get convincing home victories to progress in the second-tier continental club competition.
Despite taking the lead in the first leg game last weekend, Pillars are trailing 1-3 against ASC Diaraf of Senegal going into Saturday’s second leg tie.
Sai Masu Gida as Pillars are fondly called now need a minimum of 2-0 victory to navigate past their Senegalese opponents.
Kano Pillars captain, Rabiu Ali, while ruing their disappointing first leg result has promised maximum efforts in Saturday’s second leg game billed for the Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna.
“We know our fans are not happy with us on what happened in the first leg but they should be patient because, in football, you either win, draw or lose, but we will try our best in the return leg,” the captain told Kano-pillars.com.
Unfortunately for Pillars, they would be missing three of their key players for the game against ASC Diaraf.
The trio of Emmanuel Anyanwu, Achibi Nwenike and Victor Dennis have all been ruled out with varying degrees of injury.
In Port Harcourt, Rivers United will be in action on Sunday against Futuro Kings from Equatorial Guinea.
Unlike Pillars that need a minimum 2-0 win to progress, Stanley Eguma’s men can progress with just a 1-0 win having lost 2-1 in the first leg.
Rivers United defender Ifeanyi Anamena while speaking with the club’s media team said he is confident they have the game under control and can get the needed result to progress into the next phase.
“We lost 2-1, and if we can win 1-0 or 2-0 at home then we are done, it is a matter of self-motivation, and we will make sure we get a positive aggregate result that will overturn the negative outcome of the first leg,” the hard-tackling defender said.
Just as it is in the Confederation Cup, Nigeria also have two representatives in the Champions League; Enyimba and Plateau United.
Plateau United have a more difficult scenario before them since they lost 1-0 at home against Simba in the first leg played in Jos last weekend.
Already in Dar es Salam for Saturday’s second leg, the Peace Boys are hoping they can stun their hosts and progress from the Preliminary stage to the first round of the Champions League.
Simba SC coach Sven Vandenbroeck has admitted they are facing a dangerous return leg clash against Plateau United despite the one-goal lead.
“I think Saturday’s game is still a dangerous one, it is only one goal difference so we have to concentrate, be alert and I hope the fans will come in a big number to the stadium to support us,” Vandenbroeck told reporters on Friday.
“I am saying all this because the Nigerian team [we faced in the first leg] was a very good team and so we still need all the energy we have and all the support from outside so we can qualify to the next round.”
For Enyimba, they were the only Nigerian team that won their game last weekend, and having beaten Rahimo 1-0 in Burkina Faso, the expectation is that the Peoples’ Elephant will finish the task in Aba on Sunday.