Saturday, 1 May 2021

Up Enyimba! Nigeria’s Enyimba Drawn Against Pyramids FC Of Egypt For Confed Cup Quarter-finals

After the conclusion of the group stages of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Confederations Cup competition on Wednesday, April 28, the draws for the next stage, the quarter-finals, were held on Friday.

As THEWILL reported, Nigeria’s representative at this year’s Confed Cup, Enyimba FC of Aba were on the very brink of elimination after regulation time in their final Group A match against South Africa’s Orlando Pirates on Wednesday night at their Enyimba International Studium in Aba.

The two-time African champions of continental team football were without their inspirational captain and highest goal scorer, Austin Oladapo, and had played valiantly but could not breach the defenses of the opponent for that all-important goal that could alter their chances for the better until the fifth minute of extra time when Cyril Chinedu Olisema produced a winning goal.

That victory catapulted the People’s Elephant of Aba to the top of their group effectively qualifying them for the quarter-finals and leaving them in a strong position for the draws. Therefore, on Friday, they were drawn against Egyptian Premier League outfit Pyramids FC, the third-placed side in the Egyptian Premier League, who finished second in Group D.

On their part, the Pyramids, who reached the final of the 2020 Confed Cup but fell 1-0 to Renaissance Sportive de Berkane of the Moroccan Botolo League, will be seeking to not only go the distance this time but clinch the silverware to show for their efforts and improve on last year’s campaign.

The Egyptian side survived a rough patch in the group stages just as Enyimba did. Two consecutive defeats to another Moroccan team, Raja Casablanca, made it a bumpy qualification battle but they still emerged from the group with nine points as the second best, six behind Raja Casablanca, who won the group.

They will stand between progress to the semi-finals and Enyimba. The strength of the Aba team remains their home grounds at the Enyimba International Studium. However, Fatai Amoo’s charges must improve their away game if they seek to go further in the competition.

With the first leg of the quarter-final fixtures set to take place in Egypt, at the 30 June Stadium of Pyramids, on Sunday, May 16, that lesson cannot come any sooner. The two quarterfinalists then head to Abia State in Nigeria for the reverse fixture on May 23, to determine which of them progresses.

From Friday’s draw, the semifinalists were also drawn and it implies that should Enyimba scale through the Egyptian obstacle, they will see themselves contending against either one of South Africa’s Orlando Pirates, the same from their Group A qualifying series, or Morocco’s Raja Casablanca.

Here is how the teams were paired from the draw:

Orlando Pirates (South Africa) vs Raja Athletic Club (Morocco)

Coton Sport (Cameroon) vs ASC Jaraaf (Senegal)

CS Sfaxien (Tunisia) vs JS Kabylie (Algeria)

Pyramids (Egypt) vs Enyimba (Nigeria)

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