Nigerian champions Enyimba face a daunting task in their bid to make it to the semi-finals of th...
Nigerian champions Enyimba face a daunting task in their bid to make it to the semi-finals of the CAF Champions League when they confront Egyptian side, Zamalek today (Monday) at the Petrosport Stadium Cairo.
The Peoples Elephants are still without a win in the group stages of the competition after suffering defeats in their opening two games.
They must win the tie in order to revive their faltering hopes, while a draw will be enough for the Egyptian champions to secure their passage to the last four.
Enyimba's poor away record in the competition suggests they will have to be at their best to overcome the hosts who have lost two times in their last 21 games.
Paul Aigbogun's men have lost three of their four away games, their only victory was the penalty shootout win against Etoile du Sahel of Tunisia which came after they surrendered a 3-0 first leg advantage.
However, despite the enormity of the task before his side, captain Chinedu Udoji is confident they can shock the Egyptians in Cairo.
The skipper is one of five players who have joined the Enyimba squad in Egypt after featuring for the NPFL All-Stars in a friendly against Valencia in Spain.
The others are Dare Ojo, goalkeeper Theophilus Afelokhai, Chima Akas and Joseph Osadiaye.
Enyimba have left out Nigeria U23 winger Emmanuel Etor and Ezekiel Bassey, who has struggled for form this season.
Though Zamalek have just one win to show from their three matches in Group B thus far, the disqualification of Algeria’s ES Setif and the poor form of Enyimba (two losses from as many outings) means the Cairo side need just a draw in this match to secure progression.
The White Knights’ last outing in the African competition was a 1-0 loss away to group toppers Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa on July 27, while Enyimba haven’t played in the Champions League since late June, when they lost 2-1 to the same ‘Downs team.
Zamalek’s loss in South Africa brought about the resignation of coach Mohamed Helmi, continuing their managerial merry-go-round. Mohamed Salah (the coach, not the Roma player) is the man currently in charge on an interim basis.
Enyimba and Zamalek clashed in the first matchday of the group stage, with the Egyptian claiming a narrow 1-0 win in Port Harcourt courtesy of an early goal from Basem Morsy. That victory is what sees the White Knights in such a strong position and they will be confident of a repeat in their own back yard.
Zamalek will also be high on confidence after a famous 3-1 win over arch enemies Al Ahly in the final of the Egyptian Cup this past weekend. Morsy scored a brace, while winger Mostafa Fathi netted the third.