Enyimba coach Usman Abd’Allah has lauded the achievements recorded by North African clubs on the continent, attributing it to a good foundation, even as the 2-time African champions prepare to face Algerian and Moroccan opposition in the group stage of the 2019/2020 CAF Confederation Cup.
The People’s Elephant were on Tuesday at CAF Headquarters in Cairo drawn against North African teams; Hassania Agadir of Morocco and Algerian side Paradou AC, as well as FC San Pedro of Cote d’Ivoire in a potentially difficult Group D.
In an exclusive chat with www.busybuddiesng.com, the Chemical Engineering graduate highlighted the reasons behind the continued success of North African sides in CAF’s inter-club competitions.
“I think the North Africans are always good and ahead of us because of their grassroots,” Abd’Allah said. “I think it’s all about the foundation of football over there.
“They have a very good youth development and they are working on their academies. That is why you can see that they are more tactically sound than us.
“But football is changing now; I think we are catching up slowly.”
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In spite of the tactical astuteness and good foundation of the North Africans, Abd’Allah believes his Enyimba side will qualify from the group if they do the needful.
“What we should do at Enyimba is to make sure that we follow up all these teams that we are going to play against. And, we have to also see their recent matches so that it will help us analyse the teams and look at their strengths and weaknesses – where we can explore and make sure that we get what we want,” he said.
“We have no preference here; we’ll be ready for every team that comes our way – the North Africans? So shall it be.
“We will sit down and work very hard to see that we qualify for the quarter-finals. Now, the goal is to qualify from this stage. It doesn’t matter whether we finish first or second in the group, we have to make sure that we qualify for the quarter-finals.”
Such is the dominance of North African teams on the continent that they have won 11 of the 16 editions of the CAF Confederation Cup, claiming 31 CAF Champions League titles out of a possible 55.