|Enyimba captain, Chinedu Udoji|
By Zazi Bariza
Nigerian Champions Enyimba are the only hope of Nigerian representation in the group stages of CAF club competitions this year following a commanding 6-3 aggregate victory over Burundian champions Vital’O in the first round of the CAF Champions League.
With a 5-1 first leg win, Enyimba had put the tie beyond their opponents, rendering any boasts of a comeback from the Burundians empty.
Consequently, the 1-2 loss in the return fixture in Bujumbura could not do any harm to Enyimba group stage ambitions.
It was the visitors that went ahead through Ikechukwu Ibenegbu before the half hour, but Vital’O responded with goals from Shasiri Nahimana and Laudit Mavugo to win before their home fans.
The People’s Elephants will next face Etoile du Sahel, who bundled out Khouribga 3-1 on aggregate. First leg will be played in Nigeria on the weekend of 8th-10th April; while the return fixture will come up two weeks later.
Warri Wolves, Nasarawa United crash out
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s other representatives in the Champions League, Warri Wolves crashed out after 2-0 aggregate loss to Al-Mereikh.
Wolves were hoping to overturn their 1-0 home loss, but the Sudanese scored in the first half to confirm their exit from Africa’s elite club competition on the first time of asking.
In the CAF Confederation Cup, Nasarawa United were pummeled 4 -1 by SC Constantine, ending the tie on a 5-2 aggregate loss.
United, narrowly won the first leg 2-1, but looked likely to advance after Yaro Bature’s 67th minute goal cancelled Constantine’s first half opener. However, a goal crazy final thirteen minutes saw the hosts pump in three goals to take the tie beyond the Nigerians.
The last time a Nigerian club made it to the group stage of any of CAF’s club competitions was in 2012 when Gbenga Ogunbote led Sunshine Stars to the semi final of the Champions League.