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Rangers, Enyimba still waiting for FIFA’s directive on post COVID-19 tournament

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Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) clubs, Enugu Rangers and Enyimba, who were recently named by FIFA as among the sides to participate in a post-COVID-19 fundraising tournament, say they are still waiting on the world football ruling body for directives on the competition, which will feature 14 other African teams.

FIFA selected the top 16 teams in the continent based on popularity for the tournament, which would also be replicated in other continents. The teams listed for the tournament, which will hold on a home and away format, are Esperance of Tunisia, Al Ahly of Egypt, Kaiser Chiefs of South Africa, TP Mazembe of Congo DR and Accra Hearts of Oak of Ghana.

Also in the list are Zamalek of Egypt, Orlando Pirates of South Africa, Kampala City Club (KCC) of Uganda, Zesco United of Zambia, El Merreikh of Sudan, Gor Mahia of Kenya, AS Vita of Congo, Raja Casablanca and Wydad, both of Morocco.

Although FIFA said in the statement announcing the tournament that it would hold only ‘when it is safe for fans to return to the stadium,’ Enugu Rangers’ Media Officer, Norbert Okolie, said the ‘Flying Antelopes,’ are excited by their invitation to participate in the competition, adding, however, that they are still waiting on FIFA for directives on the event.

“It is a big honour to be nominated among the big clubs in Africa. This shows that we are doing certain things right.“Our players can wait to get into action, but that would happen when FIFA is ready.

“We have heard of the directives on the competition, but we want to hear from the organisers to know what and how we should prepare for the tournament. But as always, we will be ready when the time comes,” he said.

An Enyimba official, who also expressed his team’s interest in the tournament, also said the club would be ready whenever the timeline is drawn.

“For now, we don’t have much information on the tournament although we are aware of it,” he said. In announcing the competition recently, FIFA said: “The tournament will be held in each continent at the same time. It will last for a month with the tournament starting with group ties played over two legs.

“The money realised will be managed by FIFA, who will in turn reward each club or representatives during an award to the Champions at its inauguration of inter club tournament in the Hall of Heroes in Zurich, Switzerland.”

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