Although their Total CAF Champions League fixture against Rahimo of Burkina Faso seemingly looks easy based on history, Enyimba trainer Usman Abdallah has hinted that their opponents won’t be underrated.
While Enyimba remains Nigeria’s most successful side in this competition following their unprecedented back-to back success in the 2003 and 2004 editions; Rahimo remains an unknown quantity as far as continental football is concerned.
We have to get a very positive result when we travel away for the first leg match against Rahimo, the 45-year-old Abdallah said in an interview with CAFOnline.com
We can’t afford to take chances because they are a team that know how to get good results even away from their base in Burkina Faso. Rahimo may be a young team but with information at our disposal, they are a strong team and they can be frustrating especially when they adopt a peculiar 4-5-1 formation.
We can all think and anticipate about what we are going to do but the truth is that we can’t underrate Rahimo. Our objective first and foremost is to get a good result in the first leg.
Abdallah, who guided Enyimba to their record eighth Nigerian league title last June, said the People’s Elephants must be up and running to reclaim their pride on the continent.
In recent years, the two-time African Champions failed to progress beyond the group stage during their last CAF Champions League campaign in 2016 when they were edged out of the semi-final tickets by Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa and Zamalek FC of Egypt.
Similarly, they were also stopped at the semi -finals in the 2018/219 Total CAF Confederation Cup by eventual winners, Raja Club Athletic of Morocco.
Of course, we (Enyimba) are experienced team on the continent and it’s our objective to do well like every other team in the competition, admitted Abdallah.
But the dynamics of the game are changing on the continent now and we as a team still need some catch-up to do with the rest of the continent especially with teams from North Africa because they are quicker with the ball.
The good thing is that we still have the core of the players that we used during our last campaign in the Confederation Cup and those experiences we had will be very useful this time around.
In the interim, Abdallah said he was focused on this upcoming encounter against the youthful side owned by former Burkinabe international Rahim Ouedraogo, adding that Enyimba has already outlined both micro and macro plans in their quest for continental honours yet again.
You can’t be talking about the bigger picture of winning the Champions League when we have not even crossed the first round hurdle, he explained. There is a lot of expectation here as a coach of Enyimba and I would say I’ve been lucky going into my third year.
We did relatively well in last year’s Confederation Cup and recently we won the league title which qualified us again for this year’s CAF Champions League. Our first objective is to qualify for the group stages because we can’t win the trophy at the end of day without going through the process; so we are going to take it stage-by-stage.
Our focus now is about Rahimo and we must be ready to give our best starting with the first leg match away match in Burkina Faso, noted Abdallah.
Friday, 9 August 2019
JS Kabylie (Algeria) vs El Merreikh (Sudan)
Sonidep (Niger) vs USM Alger (Algeria)
Saturday, 10 August 2019
Brikama United (Gambia) vs Raja Club Athletic (Morocco)
Stade Malien (Mali) vs Horoya (Guinea)
Rahimo (Burkina Faso) vs Enyimba (Nigeria)
Cano Sport (Equatorial Guinea) vs Mekelle (Ethiopia)
Kano Pillars (Nigeria) vs Asante Kotoko (Ghana)
African Stars (Namibia) vs KCCA (Uganda)
Green Mamba (Eswatini) vs Zesco (Zambia)
Young Africans (Tanzania) vs Township Rollers (Botswana)
Nyasa Big Bullets (Malawi) vs FC Platinum (Zimbabwe)
UD Songo (Mozambique) vs Simba (Tanzania)
KMKM (Zanzibar) vs Primeiro de Agosto (Angola)
Green Eagles (Zambia) vs Orlando Pirates (South Africa)
Sunday, 11 August 2019
Tempete Mocaf (Central African Rep.) vs El Nasr (Libya)
Buffles (Benin) vs ASCK (Togo)
UMS de Loum (Cameroon) vs AS Vita (DR Congo)
Rayon Sport (Rwanda) vs El Hilal (Sudan)
Aigle Noir (Burundi) vs Gor Mahia (Kenya)
*Atlabara (South Sudan) vs Al Ahly (Egypt)
*Dekadaha (Somalia) vs Zamalek (Egypt)
LPRC Oilers (Liberia) vs Generation Foot (Senegal)
Hafia (Guinea) vs Etoile du Sahel (Tunisia)
Matlama (Lesotho) vs Petro Atletico (Angola)
Fomboni (Comoros) vs Cote D’Or (Seychelles)
AS Otoho (Congo) vs Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa)
SOA (Cote d’Ivoire) vs Nouadhibou (Mauritania)
CMS (Gabon) vs Elect Sport (Chad)
Fosa Juniors (Madagascar) vs Pamplemousses (Mauritius)
*Matches will be played in Egypt
Source: Confederation Africaine de Football (CAF)