The two-time African champions’ continental dreams have ended in the most dramatic of fashions
The Confederations of African Football (CAF) on Tuesday omitted the name of Enyimba FC International during the draws for the group stage of the 2021-22 Confederations Cup.
At the draws conducted at the CAF Headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, Enyimba’s playoff round foes, Al-Ittihad, were placed in Group B alongside Algeria’s JS Saoura and South Africa’s Orlando Pirates.
The last spot in the group was reserved for the aggregate winner of the tie between Algeria’s JS Kabylie and Eswatini’s Royal Leopards.
This development effectively ends Enyimba’s continental challenge this season despite the George Finidi-tutored side winning all three games in the competition.
The Aba Elephants defeated Senegalese side Diambars home and away for a 4-0 aggregate win in the previous round.
Enyimba’s troubles began when coronavirus-related travel issues stopped them from honouring their first leg fixture Al-Ittihad in Libya.
They, however, outclassed their opponents 2-0 in the second leg at the Enyimba International Stadium in Aba on December 5.
Enyimba then petitioned CAF to either cancel their outstanding clash against the Libyans or have it played anywhere outside the country.
But CAF later ruled in favour of Al Ittihad, instructing Enyimba to honour the return fixture in Benghazi on December 19.
Al Ittihad then performed a walkover when Enyimba did not show up for the game, ignoring the two-time African champions’ requests for a date shift.
CAF has seemingly endorsed the Libyans’ move with the omission of Enyimba from Tuesday’s draws, leaving the Elephants hunting for glory in the domestic competitions.
The Finidi-led side has won their first two games in the 2021-22 NPFL season, beating Abia Warriors 2-1 on the opening weekend before edging Enugu Rangers 1-0 away on Boxing Day.