Enyimba Eliminated From CAF Confederation Cup Play-off After Al Ittihad Refused To Extend Fixture’s Date
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By Our Correspondent
Nigeria will have no club in the Confederation of Africa, CAF’s organised leagues group stages for the first time in as many years as the remaining Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL representative at the CAF Confederation Cup, Enyimba International FC have been eliminated from the second tier league after the refusal of their opponents, Al Ittihad to extend the date of the first leg play-off fixture.
Enyimba was scheduled to play the Libyans today ) December 19) but the People’s Elephant had pleaded for extension of the date of the match to enable them make the journey, but their plea failed on deaf ears.
Al Itihad 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.
Enyimba had pleaded with their hosts for a shift in date but Al Itihad has since rejected the plea.
CAF on their part had ruled that Enyimba can only have their way should Al Itihad cooperate and accept a shift in date however, a letter to that effect on Friday from Enyimba was met with instant rejection by the host team.
Newstap reports that Enyimba boss, Anyansi Agwu who confirmed the club’s dilemma described their losing out as nothing but “Arab conspiracy,” even as he added that CAF clearly favored Al Itihad in the board room politics.
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.