Nigeria will have no club in the CAF Champions League group stage for the second straight season after the country’s last remaining representatives Enyimba crashed out on Wednesday.
The Aba Elephants beat Al Merrikh 2-1 in the second leg of their first round clash at the Enyimba Stadium but lost 4-2 on aggregate to fall at this stage to Sudanese opposition for the second year running.
Incidentally, both defeats to Sudanese opposition – Al Hilal last season, came after the two-time African champions had navigated past Rahimo in the preliminary stage.
Training 3-0 from the first leg in Omdurman, Fatai Osho’s side needed an enterprising start to gain a foothold in the tie but started in the worst possible way as they conceded after just seven minutes to a Terry Saif goal.
Last season’s top scorer on the continent Victor Mbaoma restored parity before half time before putting the home side ahead from the spot after the break.
Despite spirited efforts to turn the tie around, Enyimba could find no further breaches in Al Merrikh’s rearguard as the visitors held on to progress to the group stage of CAF’s premier inter-club competition.
Enyimba, meanwhile, drop into the second-tier Confederation Cup where they will face one of the winners of the first round ties.
Nigeria’s other club side in the Confederation Cup Rivers United, meanwhile, await further communication from CAF about the rescheduling of their second leg, first leg tie with Bloemfontein Celtic.
The tie scheduled for today in Port Harcourt was called off after Nigerian health authorities declined to issue the South Africans with waivers from Covid-19 protocols.
Rivers United lead 2-0 from the first leg and will progress to the next stage if they avoid defeat.