Enyimba, Nigeria’s last surviving club in this year’s continental campaign, is on the verge of booking a spot in knockout rounds of the CAF Confederation Cup and captain Austin Oladapo believes the team would have exceeded expectations when it happens.
A win away to ES Setif in the Maghreb will edge them that closer to a quarter final spot for Enyimba in the competition, a feat Oladapo is confident they can achieve, but it’s their progress from a difficult group that serves as icing on the cake.
The club, that now jostles in the second tier of the CAF club competition, was a two time winner of the prestigious Champions League.
It defeated Ismaily, USM Alger, Esperance, Étoile du Sahel and co on the way to being crowned back to back champions.
However in contemporary times, Enyimba are no longer that force.
It’s no wonder pitched against Al Ahly Benghazi, Orlando Pirates and ES Setif in the CAF CC’s own version of the group of death, the Nigerian club were third favorite to advance.
But, Oladapo says he sees hope driven by purpose and delibrate work to go further in the competition.
“We know how important the next game is to us, we just have to get a win or a draw to keep the hope alive in our qualification bid,” the Enyimba captain told FL.
“We’re going to work very hard on ourselves before we travel to Algeria. We’re going to work on our weaknesses and then see how we can get a better result.
“I know the fans are expecting much from us. They should just keep the hope alive and believe in us that when we get to Algeria good things will come.”
CAN ENYIMBA EMERGE FROM THE GROUP OF DEATH?
The Enyimba captain described progress as a response to the team’s doubters.
“In this group, when we saw it, a lot of people tagged it the group of death and doubted our chances, but I was confident we would qualify from the group.
“Currently we are first on the log, that’s a very big hope and I believe we’re going to progress from this group and Nigerians will celebrate because we’re going to do better.”