Former Enugu State Sports Commissioner and one-time executive committee member of the Nigeria Premier League board, Ray Nnaji, has charged Enugu Rangers to prepare very well and be ready to play tough games in the CAF Confederation Cup qualifiers final round, Completesports.com reports.
CAF will on Wednesday, October 9, conduct the Confederation Cup Round of 32 games draw. The winners over two legged games will advance to the lucrative group phase.
The 32 clubs include 16 that qualified from the Confederation Cup Second Preliminary Round games and the 16 teams that were eliminated from the CAF Champions League.
Nnaji told Completesports.com that the Coal City Flying Antelopes should not expect an ‘easy’ opponent at this stage and should be ready for a ‘tough’ draw.
“They should expect a ‘tough’ opposition at this stage,” Nnaji told Completesports.com.
“At this stage, the opposition is always tough because it involves teams from the Champions League who could not make it to the group phase.
“They should not expect another team like the Gabonese (AS) Pelicans. I’m not taking any credit away from them [the Gabonese team], but it is clear Gabon is not among the best footballing nations in Africa.
“So, Rangers must work hard, they must be at their utmost best because it’s going to be much more tougher this time around.”
The radical lawyer insists that the likelihood of Rangers hosting the first leg tie makes the game more difficult, saying they must learn from Enyimba’s ouster in the Champions League by winning convincingly at home if they host the first leg at home.
Nnaji added: “For now, no one knows the next opponents Rangers will meet, but they must be prepared for whoever the draws would pair them with.
“No one knows if they would play away first, but I believe that having played away first in the last game against Pelicans of Gabon, they may likely play home first in the next game.
“And should that be the case, it then means they must have to wrap up the game here in Enugu by winning convincingly with wide margin.
“They should realise that not wrapping up the game in the first leg at home in Aba was reason why Enyimba lost out in the Champions League.
“If Enyimba had scored like two or three goals in the first leg in Aba, the story could have been different, though the North Africans are always unpredictable, that was why even when Rivers United won 3-0 against El-Merreikh (of Sudan) at the same stage of the competition in 2017, they (El-Merreikh) still went back home to win 4-0.
“But because Enyimba is an experienced team, always playing in the continent, that was reason Al-Hilal won only by 1-0. So, Rangers must be very careful and work very hard if they must make it to the group phase of the Confederation Cup as they did last time.”
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