Two of Nigeria’s flagbearers in the continental game, Enyimba International and Kano Pillars will be hoping to begin their title quest in the CAF Champions League on a winning note.
The Aba Boys are the reigning Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) champions while Kano Pillars won the Aiteo Cup also known as the FA Cup after beating Niger Tornadoes via penalties.
Having won the title twice in 2003 and 2004, the Peoples’ Elephants face a tricky test against Burkina Faso side Rahimo FC in the first leg of their Champions League preliminary campaign at the Stade du 4 Août in Ouagadougou on Saturday.
On paper, Enyimba seems to have the edge considering their experience and pedigree in the competition. However, since football is not mathematics, the team may be made to taste an unusual defeat on Saturday.
Interestingly, they have beefed up their squad with the signing of three Ghananian players Mohammed Abas, Daniel Darkwa, and Emmanuel Ampiah.
Meanwhile, Enyimba FC coach, Usman Abdallah, has revealed that the players are determined and hungry to be successful in the competition.
“I think they do (have the hunger) because they know now we are looking for something beyond the league. Normally the Champions Cup (League) is a competition that is much higher, I mean the standard of the competition is higher and they (the players) know a lot has been expected of them.
“This is the beginning. We hope to win this one and we continue becoming stronger as the competition goes on.”
On the other hand, Kano Pillars will face an acid test against former CAF Champions League winner, Asante Kotoko at the Ahmedu Bello Stadium on Saturday.
Pillars who have been boasted with the cash reward from Kaduna State governor, Abdullahi Ganduje for winning the Aiteo Cup, will be spurred by the financial incentive.
They will be hoping to win the first leg comfortably in order to avoid an early exit from the CAF competition.