CAF Confederation Cup quarter-finals: Five things to know
Enyimba of Nigeria star Austin Oladapo twisted the facts when expressing optimism ahead of a challenging CAF Confederation Cup quarter-final second leg at Horoya of Guinea Sunday.
An Oladapo goal was cancelled by one from Boniface Haba in a 1-1 first leg draw that leaves Enyimba in trouble as Horoya boast a perfect six-win home CAF record this season.
“We are good in away games and the results are there for people to see… so Nigeria should be expecting a very good result from us,” Oladapo told the Footballlive website.
In fact, Enyimba have lost four of six away matches in Africa this season, including defeats by CAF debutants Rahimo of Burkina Faso and AC Paradou of Algeria.
Leading Horoya scorer Aristide Bance is a man of many clubs — 22 in total across Africa, Europe and Asia.
His latest team are poised to reach the semi-finals of a CAF competition for the first time since losing a 1983 African Cup Winners Cup semi-final to Arab Contractors of Egypt.
The 35-year-old Burkina Faso forward has found the net four times in the Confederation Cup campaign, including a hat-trick against Gor Mahia of Kenya in Conakry.
Pyramids have scored 29 goals in 13 Confederation Cup matches this season, the most of any club with fellow Egyptian side Al Masry next best on 25.
That bodes ill for Zambian visitors Zanaco, who trail 3-0 from the first leg in Lusaka with Ali Gabr, Mohamed Farouk and Abdallah Said scoring for the Cairo outfit.
Farouk and Burkinabe Eric Traore have netted six times each for Pyramids in their maiden African campaign, once more than Ghanaian John Antwi.
Moroccan Karim el Berkaoui has played down the media attention he drew after scoring his second CAF hat-trick for Hassania Agadir in the 5-0 away rout of Libyans Al Nasr.
“I am not the only star at Hassania — every member of the squad is a star,” stressed the 24-year-old winger-turned-forward.
El Berkaoui tops the Confederation Cup scorers chart with eight goals, two more than Farouk, Traore, Zambian Rodgers Kola and South African Gift Motupa.
Moroccan outfit Renaissance Berkane want to go one step further this season in the Confederation Cup after finishing runners-up to Zamalek of Egypt last year.
The club based in the northeast of the kingdom have since signed a vastly experienced forward in Mouhcine Iajour, whose previous clubs include Casablanca giants Raja and Wydad.
Iajour displayed his worth by opening the scoring, then equalising eight minutes from time to earn a 2-2 away draw against Al Masry in Egypt.
Up to Enyimba
The last six Confederation Cup trophy-holders — TP Mazembe (twice), Al Ahly, Etoile Sahel, Raja Casablanca, Zamalek — had all previously won the CAF Champions League.
But that run of successes by former winners of the elite African competition will end this season unless Enyimba defy the odds and go all the way.
The Nigerian club from southeastern city Aba won the Champions League in 2003 and 2004 — one of only four sides to achieve back-to-back titles.