Aiteo Cup champions Rangers International of Enugu have been drawn to face Ethiopian side Defence Force Sport Club in the preliminary round of the 2018/2019 CAF Confederation Cup (CCC).
The Flying Antelopes are at home for the first leg of the tie in Enugu on 27 November in what will be their first continental outing since the 2016/ 2017 season. Eleven-time Ethiopian Premier League champions Defence Force SC will be making just their fifth ever appearance in a CAF club competition and a third ever appearance in the Confederation Cup following appearances in 2007 and 2017.
Rangers last competed in the Confederation Cup in 2016/2017 season when they dropped into the competition after being knocked out of the champions league in the first round and would be hoping to do better than the 5 – 2 aggregate loss to ZESCO United of Zambia in the playoff round.
They would also have to deal with a lack of match fitness going into the encounter as players would be just over a week into preseason and with the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) billed to resume on 1 December, Rangers would not have played a competitive game since the 24 October Aiteo Cup final.
Defence Force, on the other hand, would have played three games in the Ethiopian Premier League including a game on the 24th of November, three days before the 27 November in Enugu. The Ethiopian Premier League kicks off on the 4th of November.
Following their incredible comeback triumph in the 2018 Aiteo Cup final, head coach Gbenga Ogunbote signed a new one year contract with The Flying Antelopes and the club would be looking to him to replicate his feat with Sunshine Stars in the 2011/2012 CAF champions league where he took the unfancied club to the semifinals.
Nigeria’s last representatives in the Confederation Cup, Enyimba also made it to the semifinals of the 2018/2019 season losing 3 – 1 on aggregate to Raja Casablanca of Morocco.