A tight final lap and a seemingly perfect photofinish awaits as final group A games in the CAF Confederation Cup is on the horizon with matchday six fixtures this midweek.
Enyimba will have it all to do when they host South African club Orlando Pirates at the Enyimba Stadium in Aba. The two-time African champions are condemned to win to ensure qualification for the quarterfinals of the competition this term, and may not need to keep an eye on the group’s other game in Setif provided the win is my a scoreline better that betters the 1-2 loss to the Buccaneers on matchday two.
The Sea Robbers stole all three points in Soweto over a month ago and will have their work cut out against the Elephants who haven’t dropped points at home in group A.
ENYIMBA’S HOME RECORD VS SOUTH AFRICAN CLUBS
2005: Enyimba beat Ajax Capetown 2-0 in Aba in the Champions League group stage
2006: Enyimba were held to a 1-1 draw by Orlando Pirates in the Champions League group stage.
2016: Enyimba thrashed Mamelodi Sundowns 3-1 in the Champions League group stage.
2018: Enyimba drew goalless against Bidvest Wits in Calabar (Play-off round CAFCC)
2019: Enyimba defeated TS Galaxy 2-1 in Aba (Play-off round CAFCC)
HEAD TO HEAD
This will be the fourth meeting between Enyimba and Orlando Pirates in a CAF club competition. The Buccaneers have won twice and recorded a draw in the previous three clashes; the most recent being a 2-1 win Soweto in March.
ENYIMBA TEAM NEWS
There is positive news from the physio-room with the quartet of Farouk Mohammed, Samad Kadiri, Hassan Abubakar, and Imoh Obot set to return to the first team after a lengthy lay-off. However, centre-back Nelson Ogbonnaya, Dayo Ojo, Jean-Marie Guera remain out.
Leading scorer and captain, Austin Oladapo will miss the tie as well through suspension after picking his third yellow of the tournament in Benghazi.
ANAYO IWUALA’S PRE-MATCH THOUGHTS
Speaking to the Enyimba FC media, fleet-footed winger Anayo Iwuala said:
“It’s a must win for us, we need to suppress the pressure a little bit, and we have to work together to make sure we get the win in any way we can. With the position of things now it’s more pressure for us, in a way, but we don’t have any choice than just to look for a way to get the win come Wednesday night.”
Meanwhile, head coach, Fatai Osho spoke on many fronts ahead of the tie.
On Wednesday’s clash, Osho said;
“Every team in the group should be under pressure because every other team in the group still has a healthy chance of qualification, so you don’t go to sleep at all because you know you have to work hard on the last day to earn your qualification. So that shows every team will be up and doing, and that’s a tremendous pressure when you are four and two have to go.”
Osho on Injury Update:
“We have a lot of players coming back but then the match fitness might not be there and so we won’t be in a hurry to bring them back because some have been out for several weeks, after one or two training session you don’t rush such players back into the line-up and we have to be a bit patient with them. For players who have shown extra readiness to play, maybe one or two can come in.”
Osho on 10pm kick-off time:
“It’s a good one for both teams because the weather will be fine at that time; it will be good for both Enyimba and Pirates, we won’t stress ourselves. Both teams will not play under heat; typically we know we play by 4pm in Nigeria but playing by 10pm is not a disadvantage because the weather will even be better for a football game.”