CAF CONFEDERATION CUP Enyimba Draw Setif, Orlando Pirates, Other in Group Stage

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*Gov Ikpeazu hails the Aba team for reaching the group stage, wants the cup

Duro Ikhazuagbeand Emmanuel Ugwu-Nwogoin Umuahia

Nigeria’s last team standing in continental campaign this season, Enyimba FC have been draw alongside Orlando Pirates of South Africa, Algeria’s Entente Setif and Libya’s Al Ahly Benghazi in a tough Group A of the CAF Confederation Cup.

Enyimba survived shootouts with fellow Nigerian clubside, Rivers United on Sunday afternoon to reach the money-spinning group stage of the second tier continental competition.

With the Aba Elephant who are two-time past champions of the CAF Champions League in the same group with another two past champions of the competition, Nigerians are already seeing a tough battle ahead in the Group A pairing.

South Africa’s Orlando Pirates won the continental title in 1995 while Entente Setif have also won the crown twice.

The trio are joined in Group A by Libya’s Al Ahly Benghazi in the competition.

The group-stage matches are due to begin next month with the top two in each group progressing to the quarter-finals.

Meanwhile, Governor of Abia State, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, has lauded the players and management of Enyimba International Football Club for their qualification for the group stage of the CAF Confederations Cup.

In a press release signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Onyebuchi Ememanka, the Abia governor expressed delight at Enyimba’s victory against Rivers United especially with the dedication and tenacity shown by the players.

He urged Enyimba to see the victory as the needed tonic to prepare even harder for the group stage of the continental tournament and charged them to go all out and bring the CAF Confederations Cup home to Aba.

Ikpeazu reiterated the commitment of his administration to continue to provide support to the club in particular and all the other clubs under the sponsorship of the state government.

He stated that sports remains a key factor which not only provides entertainment and relaxation to people, but has become a powerful tool for economic advancement hence the resolve of his administration to invest in sports.

The Abia chief executive, who is Enyimba’s number one fan, charged the players to redouble their efforts and win a continental silverware for the state and Nigeria in general.

According to him, “the only way the players and management of Enyimba FC can repay the huge investments of the government and people of Abia State in the club is to work hard and ensure total victory in the group stage of the CAF Confederations Cup”.

THE GROUPS

Group A: Al Ahly Benghazi (Libya), Orlando Pirates (South Africa), Enetente Setif (Algeria), Enyimba (Nigeria)
Group B: Napsa Stars (Zambia), Coton Sport (Cameroon), JS Kabylie (Algeria), RS Berkane (Morocco)
Group C: Jaaraf (Senegal), Salitas (Burkina Faso) CS Sfaxien (Tunisia) Etoile/Young Buffaloes
Group D: Namungo/Primeiro Agosto, Nkana FC (Zambia), Pyramids (Egypt), Raja Casablanca (Morocco)