By Adeboye Amosu:
Nigerian champions, Enyimba, face a daunting task in their bid to qualify for the group stage of the CAF Champions League when they confront Etoile du Sahel of Tunisia in the first leg, second round fixture at the Adokie Amiesiamaka Stadium, Port Harcourt on Sunday, reports Completesportsnigeria.com.
Both sides last met in the competition 12 years ago with Enyimba winning 5-3 on penalties in the final after a 3-3 aggregate scoreline to secure their second African title.
The Peoples Elephant navigated their way past Vipers Sports Club of Uganda and Burundian side Vital’0 to get to this stage of the competition.
Etoile on the other hand drew bye in the preliminary round and overcame Moroccan side, Olympique Khourigba, 3-1 on aggregate in the first round.
Enyimba have failed to make it to the group stage in their last two appearances in the competition.
One man the Nigerian champions will be relying on to deliver the goods for them in this tie and make the return leg at the Olympic Stadium in Sousse a mere formality is Mfon Udoh.
The former Akwa United striker who has scored four goals in the competition this year is looking forward to adding to his tally and also rates his side stronger than Etoile.
“I know that the higher we go, the tougher the competition, but to be champions, we have to beat all and the team is poised to do just that,” Udoh told the Confederation of African Football official website.
“Etoile is a strong side, but I believe we are stronger. We have been playing as team and against the Tunisians, it won’t be different.
“Sure, there will be goals but I don’t how many.”
Aside from Udoh, Enyimba head coach Paul Aigbogun will hope the likes of Ikechukwu Ibenegbu who has been outstanding for the Aba giants since his switch from Warri Wolves, Joseph Osadiaye, Dare Ojo and Chukwude Stephen replicate their impressive showings in the previous rounds.
Their defence must however be wary of Etoile’s attacking players led by the Tun8sia forward, Ahmed Akaichi, as well as Michailou Drame, Hamza Lamar and Alaya Brgui.