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Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Confed Cup: Al Itihad’s refusal to accept Enyimba’s plea ends Nigeria’s continental dreams

Nigeria’s sole representative in the CAF Confederation Cup, Enyimba have been eliminated from refusal of their opponents, Al Ittihad of Libya to extend the date of the first leg play-off fixture.

It will be noted that Enyimba was scheduled to play the Libyans on Sunday but the People’s Elephant had pleaded for extension of the date of the match to enable them make the journey which according to them was not possible within 48 hours of receiving the notification from CAF.

Al Itihad had lost the second leg of the play-off 2-0 in Aba last week after the first leg could not hold in Tunisia the former adopted home ground for Al Ittihad a fortnight ago due to COVID-19 restrictions in Benghazi.

However, CAF ruled that Enyimba’s plea for rescheduling could only be possible if their opponents accept the shift. Al Itihad rejected the plea and Enyimba was consequently eliminated.

Enyimba two days ago received the decision of the CAF Appeals Committee on their request for extension of time, maintaining that the Confederation Cup fixture against Al Ittihad be played in Benghazi, Libya this Sunday.

“In the spirit of sportsmanship and for the integrity of the competition, the club has elected to accept the decision. However, considering the brevity of time to the fixture, coupled with the current travelling challenges across the continent, it is absolutely impossible for us to arrange a trip to Libya within 48 hours.

“Consequently, we have written to CAF requesting a rescheduling of the date of the fixture to December 31 to enable us sort out our visas, flight bookings, hotel reservations and other logistics.

“CAF has however advised that for the request to be considered, a written agreement of both clubs must be submitted to the board. Hence, we have written to our hosts, Al Ittihad, hoping to get their cooperation in reaching an agreement for the new date for the fixture,” Enyimba had said.

With this development, all four Nigerian clubs that entered the 2022 CAF Interclub competitions – Akwa United, Rivers United (Champions League) and Enyimba FC, Bayelsa United (Confederation Cup) all failed to progress to the group stages.

The draw for the group stages in both competitions will hold on Tuesday, December 28, 2021.

I'm an avid and seasoned sports/ multimedia journalist. I have a biased love for Real Madrid and passionate advocate for the overall growth of the Nigeria Sports Project. I can be reached on 09077894123 or/and '[email protected]'

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