Poor performance costs Nigeria two CAF inter-club competition slots
From next season, Nigeria will only be entitled to one slot each in both the CAF Champions League and the Confederation Cup following its clubs poor performance in the competitions in recent years.
Since Enyimba won the 2003 and 2004 editions of the CAF Champions League and got to the semifinals two times after, only Kano Pillars and Heartland of Owerri have reached the last four of the competition.
Heartland beat Kano Pillars in the semifinal to reach the 2009 final, where they lost to TP Mazembe of Congo.
In the Confederation Cup, the defunct Dolphins of Port Harcourt has the brightest record with a final slot, but no Nigerian team has won the competition since the Cup Winners Cup and CAF Cup were merged by the continental body.
Enyimba, still in the Confederation Cup, is the last Nigerian club to reach the group stage of the Champions League in 2016. Rivers United finished fourth in its group in the Confederation Cup in 2017 after dropping from the Champions League.
In a statement signed by Confederation of African Football’s (CAF) Deputy Secretary General, Anthony Baffoe, CAF listed the 12 countries that would present two representatives each for the two continental club competitions. The list excluded Nigeria.
Consequently, the winners of the Premier League in 2018 and the winners of the Aiteo Cup will be the country’s representatives in the two competitions.
According to the CAF letter, Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco, DR Congo, Algeria, South Africa, Sudan, Zambia, Libya, Cameroun, Cote d’Ivoire and Mozambique will present two clubs each for the two competitions next season.
Nigeria steadily dropped down the rankings in the last five years after the country’s clubs failed to perform well in the continental competitions.