Champions League S/Final Ticket: NPL Applauds Enyimba's Victory


Yesterday’s qualification of Enyimba of Aba for the semi final stage of the CAF Champions League, has continued to receive applause from football stakeholders in the country. reports that Enyimba qualified for the semi final of the Champions League after they came from behind to beat hosts, Al Hilal of Sudan 2-1.

The away win means the Nigerian champions have now recorded 11 points from five matches in Group A.

The Sudanese team, Al Hilal remain in second place on seven points.

Speaking of the progress of the two-time winners of the lucrative league, Secretary of Nigeria Premier League, NPL, Tunji Babalola, said early today that the league body is proud of the Aba team, saying that they are worthy ambassadors of Nigerian football in the continental championship this season.

According to Babalola, the NPL does not doubt Enyimba’s ability to scale the hurdles of the group stage of the competition.

“We believe that Enyimba have what it takes to do us proud in the Champions League, that is why we did not hesitate to give them our full support before this time,” he said.

Babalola said Enyimba’s qualification for the semi final of the Champions League is a morale booster for Nigerian representatives in the CAF Confederation Cup, Sunshine Football Club of Akure and Kaduna United, who are fighting other teams to secure tickets for the semi finals of the Confederation Cup.

They will be in action this weekend in their respective games.

In the Champions League, Cameroon’s Cotonsport will host Raja Casablanca today in the northern town of Garoua.

They have four points from four matches.

A home win for Cotonsport will see them close in on Al Hilal, also on seven points.

Enyimba will host the Cameroonians in their final group game on 18 September, while Al Hilal will play away at Raja, who are bottom of the standings on two points.

The overall two top-placed clubs will qualify for the knockout semi finals of the competition.

Zimbabwean striker Edward Sadomba again proved to be a big factor for Al Hilal as he netted for his Sudanese club after just four minutes of action in last night’s tie.

In the first clash in Aba in July, Sadomba scored a brace in a 2-2 draw with the Nigerian champions.

It was Sadomba’s fourth goal in the group phase of the competition as he was also on target in the home game against Raja.

Nigeria‘s international left back Valentine Nwabaeli restored parity for Enyimba on 68 minutes.

Enyimba then grabbed the match winner through a penalty by Samuel Tswanya on the dot of 90 minutes and deal a serious blow to Al Hilal’s title dreams.

Al Hilal have dominated football in Sudan, but they are yet to win a major African honour. They have twice been beaten finalists of this competition, in 1987 and 1992.

In 2009, they reached their fifth semi-finals of this competition. They also got as far as the semis of the CAF Confederation Cup last year.

By Taiwo Adelu

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