Nigeria’s remaining representative in Africa’s club football competition this season, Enyimba International FC of Aba risk an ignominious elimination from the Confederation Cup except a big miracle happens in the next 24 hours, www.aclsports.com reports.
Enyimba are currently placed second in Group A of Africa’s second tier club competition and are billed to face Libyan side Al Ahly Benghazi on Wednesday in Benghazi – their penultimate group game.
However, ACLSports sources reveal that the team are still at their base in Aba, Eastern Nigeria as at the time of publishing this report and hardly have a chance of making the trip due to an aggregation of circumstances which include paucity of funds and visa issues.
It was gathered that in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, only two Airlines (that come to Nigeria) are allowed into Libya, including Turkish Airlines which would require that a contingent flying through them must have the Schengen visa.
An independent club source told www.aclsports.com that the miracle the club needs at the moment will require either a private airline or a chartered flight to take the team to and from Benghazi if they are to meet up with the game scheduled for the Benina Martyrs Stadium, Benghazi.
In fact, it was scooped that Enyimba had written to Africa’s football governing body, CAF during last week, requesting for a postponement of Wednesday’s game to Friday, 23rd April, but the request, www.aclsports.com learnt has been declined on Sunday.
We contacted the club’s Secretariat and spoke with Media Officer Zazi Bariza, probing on why visa should not be procured earlier and the problems with their scheduling. He responded in a comprehensive manner.
“As a football team, it is not easy to plan visas ahead of time, it is before each game that you do this because you have to always consider players’ availability per time due to injuries, suspension and coaches’ decisions.
“Travelling around (Africa) for matches have been a lot difficult and we experienced a lot of that in the fixture against ES Setif which made us arrive the country on Wednesday after a very tumultuous journey that has to take us through Doha (Qatar) which meant we have to travel to Asia before coming back to Africa and to Asia before coming to Africa so it was quite difficult.
“When we arrived Nigeria from Setif, we had to write immediately to CAF to make them understand the situation for the next game in Benghazi because the travel route to Libya is even more difficult than it was to Algeria considering that country has not fully opened up their restrictions because of the Covid-19,” said Bariza.
The implication now is that Enyimba at the moment do not look like being capable of honouring Wednesday’s game and the consequences can be grave on the two-time African champions.
In the immediate, the club will have to surrender three goals and three points to their opponents and stand the risk of being thrown out of the competition and a possible sanction of being suspended from participating in CAF club competitions for the next two seasons.