Debutants El Hilal Obeid of Sudan travels to the Angolan capital, Luanda, on Sunday as guests of Recreativo do Libolo in their Group C opener, a match midfielder Nelson Ladzagla is convinced they can come out unscathed.
Ghana-born Ladzagla made a surprise move to Sudan in 2014 when he joined Ahly Khartoum before catching the eyes Omdurman giants, El Hilal, upon the recommendation of his then coach, Al Taj Mahjoub.
Ladzagla showed great ability domestically and continentally with Hilal at the group phase of the CAF Champions League. His stay with the ‘Saeed El Balad’ will soon cut short in just a year. In 2016, he was back home in Ghana before a call from Hilal Obeid saw his return to Sudan.
With little known Hilal Obeid, the defensive midfielder will play a significant role in their qualification for the continental club championship for the first time in their history.
“The harmony and respect for our opponents was crucial in achieving all we did in a little over a year. Also, the Board of Directors of the club showed us great support which helped us reach this far, Ladzagla said.
The Ghana-born midfielder expects a tough test against Recreativo do Libolo, a club he considers amongst the strongest on the continent based on their past experience.
Recreativo is sure one of the strongest clubs in Africa, but our main goal is to win the game. We want to take the three points against them.
We are confident and believe we can go far in the competition, which remains our target, he added.
The surprise packets of the group stage, Ladzagla cites the spirit of brotherliness and collectiveness as one of the main reasons behind the success story of a club participating for the first time in the continental club championship.
At Hilal Obeid, the players are always together. All the players are housed in the same compound; go to the trainings, and eat together, the Ghanaian compared to his former club, Hilal, where it was the opposite.
Every footballer has a target in his career. For now, I just want to play for Hilal Obeid, and help their cause for history, said Ladzagla who was adjudged best midfielder in Sudan in 2014 after series of stellar performances for Hilal.
On his part, left-back and captain Murtada Abdallah adds that reaching the quarters remains their immediate target, which will be aided by a positive outing in the opener against Recreativo do Libolo away in Luanda.
“Reaching the group stage was as a result of collective effort by all – players, technical team, fans and Board of Directors. Our long-term target is to win the title and we have been working everyday towards this goal. However, our initial target is to reach the last eight, said Abdallah ahead of their trip to Angola.
Zambia’s Zesco United play host Egyptian side, Smouha in the other Group c match earlier on Saturday in Ndola.
Source: Confederation Africaine de Football