Nigeria’s representation in the upcoming CAF Champions League season has been halted as Enyimba and Remo Stars were both ousted in the initial preliminary round of the tournament on Sunday.
Despite having the home-field advantage for their return matches, both teams, which clinched the first and second positions in the Nigeria Professional Football League during the previous season, were unable to capitalize on their favorable positions. Enyimba faced defeat against Libya’s Al-Ahly Benghazi, while Remo Stars were knocked out by Ghana’s Medeama Sports Club.
The reigning NPFL champions, Enyimba, played to a goalless draw in their match against Al-Ahly Benghazi in Aba, unable to overturn the 4-3 loss they experienced in the initial leg. The efforts of Murphy Ndukwu, Joseph Atule, Chijioke Mbaoma, and George Owen came close to finding the net for the Nigerian side, yet the nine-time NPFL winners struggled to breach their opponent’s defense. Consequently, Al-Ahly Benghazi advanced to the next round with a 4-3 aggregate score.
In Ikenne, Remo Stars were eliminated through a penalty shootout by the Ghana Premier League champions, Medeama Sports Club, after the teams ended with a 1-1 aggregate score. Despite Daniel Ogunmodede’s team creating chances and hitting the post, they secured their lead through an unexpected corner kick miscalculation in the second half. The match extended to a penalty shootout, during which Medeama’s goalkeeper, Felix Kyei, thwarted three consecutive penalty attempts by Olamilekan Adebayo, Okon Aniekeme, and Samuel Anaekwe, leading to Remo’s 3-2 loss.
With the updated CAF regulations, teams eliminated from the Champions League will no longer be transferred to the Confederation Cup, a departure from previous practices. This development means that both Enyimba and Remo Stars are now out of contention on the continental stage.
Following their impressive victory over Algeria’s ASO Chlef, Bendel Insurance, the FA Cup champions, and Rivers United remain as the only Nigerian representatives in the continental competitions. Both clubs are vying for a spot in the Confederation Cup group stage.
Bendel Insurance, who secured a notable win against ASO Chlef, have been paired with Morocco’s RS Berkane in the second preliminary round. Meanwhile, Rivers United is set to face Etoile Filante from Burkina Faso in the subsequent round.
The second round’s first-leg matches are scheduled for September 15, 16, and 17, with the return leg matches following on September 29, 30, and October 1.