CAF Confederation Cup
Rivers United’s quest for continental glory will resume on Sunday, when they play host to Tanzania’s Young Africans in the first-leg of their 2023 TotalEnergies CAF Confederation Cup fixture to be played in Uyo, capital of Akwa Ibom State.
The encounter at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, in Uyo is just one of four other first-leg quarter-final fixtures to be played on Sunday at designated venues.
To qualify for the last eight, the Pride of Rivers finished in 2nd spot in Group B with 12 points, and behind ASEC Mimosas of Côte d’Ivoire; having lost their opening and final games in a group that also had DC Motema Pembe of DR Congo and Diables Noires of Congo Brazzaville.
The fixture comes with high stakes, considering the fact that Rivers United are Nigeria’s only surviving club side on the continent, following the ousting of Remo Stars, Plateau United and Kwara United earlier on.
South African Referee, Tom Abongile, will take charge of the game, to be assisted by Ivanildo Sanches from Angola and Abelmiro Negro from Sao Tome.
The couch quarter-final will also afford the reigning NPFL Champions an opportunity to sufficiently warm up for their eagerly-awaited national Federation Cup Round of 64 mouthwatering clash against Enyimba of Aba 3 days later, preparatory to their trip to Dar es Salaam, capital of Tanzania, to honour the second-leg fixture.
A North African derby pitting Algeria’s USM Algiers and Morocco’s AS FAR, is no doubt the highlight of the last eight fixtures, with the first-leg being a trip to Algiers.
FAR of Morocco is the only team in the quarterfinals to have previously won the continent’s second-tier, elite clubs competition (2005).
Since the 2006 season, this is the first time that the Moroccans are making it into the group stages.
Meanwhile, Egyptian side, Pyramids FC, who were finalists in the 2019-20 season, are home in Cairo against debutants, Marumo Gallants of South Africa, and at the same time, 1998 Champions, Asec Mimosas will be guests of Tunisian side, US Monastir in the first-leg of their quarter-final match-up.
The quarter-final draw was conducted by Opoku Nti, a former midfielder for the Black Stars of Ghana, who won the CAF Champions League in 1983 with Asante Kotoko before moving to Switzerland to play the rest of his club career; and the decisive second-leg of all four last eight fixtures have been scheduled for Sunday, April 30th; whilst the semi-finals will be played on May 14 and 21.
The final, which is set to revert to the traditional home-and-away format, has been scheduled for June 4 and 11.
Writing by Chinedum Ohanusi; Editing by Oluwaseyi Ajibade and Tony Okerafor