By SAMMY WEJINYA
Rivers United technical manager, Stanley Eguma is optimistic Nigerian clubs can hold their own in the Caf Champions League and Confederation Cup this year.
Rivers United and Rangers will both fly Nigeria’s flag in Africa’s premiere club competition – the Champions League while Wikki Tourists and FC Ifeanyiubah will both seek to become the first Nigerian club to win the Caf Confederation Cup – the continent’s second-tier club competition.
Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) clubs have generally underwhelmed in Caf’s inter-club competitions in recent years but Eguma believes the trend can be bucked in 2017.
“It is still too early to definitely say whether or not Rivers United can win the Caf Champions League because we have still not hit optimum form with the NPFL season still in its early stages.
“None of the African clubs that have entered for both competitions (Champions League and Confederation Cup) can confidently say they know which team will win (the respective titles).
“However, I will not rule out Nigerian clubs because we have begun to build stronger teams now.
“The competitiveness of the NPFL is also helping our clubs and I am confident that Rivers United will surprise many on the continent.
“We are looking at performing the past feats of Enyimba (that won the Caf Champions League title in 2003 and 2004).
“If Enyimba, a Nigeria club could win the Caf Champions League title back to back, it is possible that Rivers United can do it as well,” Eguma told the club’s official website, www.riversunitedfc.com.ng.
Eguma was a member of Enyimba’s coaching staff when the Aba club won the African title for the second time in 2004.