The two Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) clubs representing the country at next season’s Confederation of African Football (CAF) inter-club competitions; Lobi Stars and Enugu Rangers have been handed fair draws in the elimination round of their respective competitions.
In the draws released by CAF on Friday afternoon, adopted NPFL representative in the Champions League; Lobi Stars of Makurdi were drawn against Cameroonian side Union des Mouvements Sportifs (UMS) de Loum who finished second in the Cameroon league.
Lobi Stars are making a return to the continental stage almost six years after a disgraceful showing in the Confederation Cup in 2013. The Pride of Benue were eliminated then by little known Mozambique side Liga Muçulmuna, who thrashed them 7-1 in the second leg for an 8-4 aggregate score.
The tie between Lobi Stars and UMS will be the second time in successive seasons that a Nigerian and Cameroonian side will face in the Champions League after Plateau United eliminated Eding Sport last season. The Nigerians will travel to Cameroon for the first leg game before hosting the return leg. Winner of the Lobi/UMS clash will likely face Kenyan giants Gor Mahia in the next round.
In the Confederation Cup, Rangers who dramatically won the AITEO Cup in Asaba last month will face Ethiopian Cup winners Defence Force Sport Club in the preliminary stage of the 2018/19 competition. Both teams last played in an African championship in 2017 when Rangers were eliminated by ZESCO United while Defence Force were ousted by Cameroonian side Young Sports.
Rangers will host the first leg on November 28 at the Nnamdi Azikwe Stadium in Enugu before traveling to Addis Ababa for the return leg a week later. Winner of the tie will likely face Algerian Cup winners USM Bel Abbés in the next round of the competition.
Nigeria are being represented by one team in each competition this year according to the CAF coefficient calculation which comes after their representatives over the past five seasons have churned out inconsistent results in both the Champions League and the Confederation Cup.