Enyimba will face either Rivers United or South Africa’s Bloemfontein Celtic in the play-off round of the Caf Confederation Cup.
Following their 4-2 defeat on aggregate to Sudan’s Al Merreikh in the Caf Champion League first round, the two-time African champions got relegated to the second-tier competition of African club football.
And going by the pairing conducted at Caf Headquarter in Cairo yesterday, Fatai Osho’s men would be gunning for glory – albeit, they must negotiate their way past their Nigeria Professional Football League rivals or the South African top-flight side.
The second leg first-round clash between the Pride of Rivers and John Maduka’s Siwelele billed for the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, Port Harcourt on Wednesday was called off by the Confederation of African Football following the South Africans’ failure to get a waiver to fly into Nigeria from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) had pleaded with Caf to stage the reverse fixture in any of the country’s neighbouring nations with less strict Covid-19 protocols.
“Please understand that the health policy as put in place by the Nigeria health authority is aimed at controlling the spread of the already (high) number of Covid-19 infections in Nigeria and not aimed at South African nationals,” read a letter signed by NFF general secretary Mohammed Sanusi.
Late goals from Godwin Aguda and Fortune Omoniwari handed Stanley Eguma’s men away win in the first leg played at Dr Petrus Molemela Stadium.
The first leg of the play-off round will be held at the Enyimba Stadium, Aba on February 14, with the return leg taking place seven days later.
Elsewhere, Cote d’Ivoire’s RC Abidjan have been drawn against Pyramids of Egypt, while Niger Republic’s AS Sonidep will try Cameroon’s Coton Sport for size. FC Platinum Zimbabwe must overcome ASC Jaraaf (Senegal) to confirm their place in the round robin phase.
Another star-studded encounter will see Tunisia’s CS Sfaxien try their luck against Rwanda top-flight giants AS Kigali.
The standout contest at this stage of the competition will see Morocco’s Raja Casablanca lock horns with Tunisia’s US Monastirienne.