Akwa United trainer Abdu Maikaba has admitted playing in front of a partisan crowd at the El Hilal Stadium of Sudanese giants El Hilal, requires Herculean effort and will therefore leave no stone unturned as he leads out his wards for the 2nd 1/16th round first leg on Sundy.
At their much-dreaded home ground in Omdurman, Hilal had in recent years claimed the scalp of Nigerian clubs including Kano Pillars, Enyimba and Nassarawa United
But Maikaba who helped Enyimba to a famous 2-1 away win in Omdurman in the 2011 CAF Champions League campaign believes the Promise Keepers with whom he won the Nigerian FA Cup last year, can weather the storm
“It is good that as a coach I have the experience of playing in that stadium and against the same team when I was with Enyimba;so it would help us (Akwa United),” Maikaba, a former school teacher told CAFOnline.com
“We are preparing well for this encounter against Hilal. We want to get a result that would make the second leg a mere formality.”
Incidentally, Akwa has struggled for form even on the domestic scene and only sealed their spot in the Confederation Cup play-off via a dramatic 3-2 penalty shootout win over Al-Ittihad of Libya after they both tied 1-1 on aggregate in the last round.
“It is true that things might not be going well with the team but we are doing everything to reverse the tide. It’s our hope that things would turn around for the better on Sunday against Hilal,” assured Maikaba who clocked 53 last March.
Similarly, Akwa United midfielder, Ifeanyi Ifeanyi who has just returned to the side after an injury lay-off is equally hopeful about coming out unscathed in Omdurman
“I’m now very fit and positive that we can fight for a good result when we travel to Sudan,” explained the 22-year-old defensive midfielder.
“We are not worried about our recent defeats in the local league; we have put that behind us and want to face the continental cup match squarely.”
Meanwhile, Nigerian Azeez Shobowale who plies his trade with Hilal has predicted a tough match against Akwa United in Omdurman.
“It will be an emotional match for me being a Nigerian facing a Nigerian club, where I have a lot of former teammates and friends. It will be a tough match but we want to bury the match here in Sudan before the return fixture in Uyo,” Shobowale said.
Friday, 6 April 2018
Bidvest (South Africa) vs Enyimba (Nigeria)
CF Mounana (Gabon) vs El Masry (Egypt)
Rayon Sports (Rwanda) vs Costa do Sol (Mozambique)
Saturday, 7 April 2018
Zanaco (Zambia) vs Raja Club Athletic (Morocco)
AS Vita (DR Congo) vs CS la Mancha (Congo)
Saint George (Ethiopia) vs CARA (Congo)
UD Songo (Mozambique) vs Hilal Obeid (Sudan)
Plateau United (Nigeria) vs USM Alger (Algeria)
Young Africans (Tanzania) vs Wolaitta Dicha (Ethiopia)
Generation Foot (Senegal) vs RS Berkane (Morocco)
Williamsville (Cote d’Ivoire) vs Niefang (Equatorial Guinea)
Sunday, 8 April 2018
El Hilal (Sudan) vs Akwa United (Nigeria)
Gor Mahia (Kenya) vs Supersport (South Africa)
Aduana (Ghana) vs Fosa Juniors (Madagascar)
ASEC Mimosas (Cote d’Ivoire) vs CR Belouizdad (Algeria)
MFM (Nigeria) vs Djoliba (Mali)