The focus of Nigeria Professional Football League Champions, Rivers United, and runners-up, Plateau United will now shift their focus to the CAF Confederation Cup after missing the cut in the CAF Champions League group stage, as they seek to play in the money-spinning group stage of the second tier CAF inter-club competition.
Standing in their way are Libyan opponents, as Rivers United was drawn against El Nasr Benghazi while Plateau United was paired with Al-Akhdar.
The additional second preliminary round of the 2022/2023 CAF Confederation Cup draw saw the 16 teams that qualified from the second preliminary round of the Confederation Cup play the 16 teams that lost the second preliminary round of the CAF Champions League.
Both matches will be played on Wednesday 2nd November 2022.
In Abuja, Plateau United will hope to take maximum advantage at the MKO Abiola Stadium, where they will face Al-Akhdar in the first leg of their encounter.
Lessons of the painful elimination in the Champions League against Esperance of Tunisia are still fresh in the mind of Coach Fidelis Ilechukwu, as his team will attempt to bar the memories against the Libyans.
“We know the importance of this game and we also understand the reason why we did not make it to the group stage of the CAF Champions League. Is very painful for us, but we have put that behind us to enable us to face the future which is this game,” Ilechukwu told Plateau United media.
Elsewhere in Port Harcourt, NPFL Champions, Rivers United will welcome two-time Libyan champions, El Nasr Benghazi in the first leg at the Adokiye Amesimaka Stadium.
Rivers United coach, Stanley Eguma now faces what appears like a make-or-break, after falling short against Wydad Casablanca in the final round of the Champions League play-off.
The team’s captain, Festus Austin believes a place in the group stage of the CAF Confederation Cup will be a huge consolation for their Champions League mishap.
“We just have to put in a more than hundred percent performance to win the game, because we know how important it is for us and we don’t have any excuse not to reach the group stage. For us to do that, we must win convincingly at home and I am sure we can achieve that,” Festus said.
Rivers United will face off against El Nasr Benghazi by 2 pm in Port Harcourt, while Plateau United will slug it out with Al-Akhdar by 4 pm in Abuja.