Enyimba midfielder Dayo Ojo is optimistic The People’s Elephant will knockout his former club Al Merrikh and book a place in the group stage of the CAF Champions League.
Two-time champions Enyimba travel to Omdurman for the first leg, first round tie against the Sudanese giants on Wednesday, 23 December before the second leg in Aba two weeks later, with aggregate winners advancing to the money-spinning stage of the competition.
Ojo, who was on the books of Al Merrikh from 2016 to 2017, admitted that the 16-time Sudan champions are a good side but maintained Enyimba have the ‘advantage to move to the next round’.
“We believe, although it is football and anything can happen,” the former Sunshine Stars player said of Enyimba’s chances of eliminating Merrikh.
“You cannot predict what would happen in football, but with the video we watched and with what we’ve seen so far, I believe we have the advantage to move to the next round of this competition because of our standard.
“And I believe if we can get it right over there (in Omdurman), at least, I think we are going to finish it off in our home. I believe we’re going to get to the group stage.”
Wednesday’s clash will take place at the home ground of Al Hilal as the Red Castle – Al Merrikh stadium – is currently undergoing renovation.
And with fans also not allowed to attend due to Covid-19 restrictions, the midfield enforcer thinks the situation will favour his Enyimba side, while acknowledging the brilliance of his former club.
“Al Merrikh is a team I respect. I think they are one of the best teams in Africa now and they are a good side,” the 26-year-old noted.
“I think one thing that will help us going there first is that we will be playing against Al Merrikh in a neutral ground and also, we’ll be playing without spectators. So, that gives us an edge over them because the Al Merrikh I know, they believe so much in their fans in that their ground.
“So, going there and playing them on a neutral ground and without their fans, I think is one of the things that will really help us a lot.”
To reach this stage, Al Merrikh eliminated Congolese side As Otoho 3-1 on aggregate, while Enyimba knocked out Rahimo of Burkina Faso 2-1 over two legs.