The four Nigerian sides avoided being pitched against each other as the draw of the second 1/16th round of the 2018 CAF Confederation Cup was conducted on Wednesday in Cairo, Egypt.
The development means the four clubsides can reach the group phase of the competition if they overcome their opponents over two legs in April.
The clubs are Enyimba International Football Club of Aba, Akwa United FC of Uyo, Jos-based Plateau United FC and Lagos-based MFM FC. Both Enyimba and Akwa United, who were originally Nigeria’s representatives in the competition, had advanced into the round after succeeding in the first 1/16th round.
They were joined by the duo of Plateau United FC of Jos and MFM FC of Lagos who dropped into the competition after failing to advance in the CAF Champions League. Both Plateau United and MFM FC had campaigned initially in the CAF Champions League.
The four Nigerian sides had then faced the possibility of facing each other if drawn together, though this is still a possibility in the next round. Now, Plateau United and Akwa United seem to have the toughest part of the draw, having to face North African sides in USM Alger and Sudanese giants El Hilal respectively.
They had faced North African foes in the last round of the CAF Champions League and CAF Confederation Cup respectively. Plateau United had lost to Etoile du Sahel of Tunisia 3-4 aggregate, while Akwa United beat Al Ittihad of Libya 3-2 on penalty kicks after a 1-1 aggregate draw.
Enyimba and MFM who lost 2-7 aggregate to MC Alger of Algeria should face no hitches in overcoming their opponents, judging by the clubs’ pedigree and recent performances. Former Zamalek midfielder Hazem Emam assisted CAF Deputy General Secretary Anthony Baffoe to conduct the draw.
First leg matches in the second 1/16th round will take place between April 6 and April 8, while second leg matches are for April 17 and April 18. Below are the fixtures:
Zanaco (Zambia) vs Raja Club Athletic (Morocco)
AS Vita (DR Congo) vs CS la Mancha (Congo)
Saint George (Ethiopia) vs CARA (Congo)
El Hilal (Sudan) vs Akwa United (Nigeria)
AS Gor Mahia (Kenya) vs SuperSport United (South Africa)
UD Songo (Mozambique) vs Hilal Obied (Sudan)
Plateau United (Nigeria) vs USM Alger (Algeria)
Bidvest (South Africa) vs Enyimba (Nigeria)
Aduana (Ghana) vs Fosa Juniors (Madagascar)
Young Africans (Tanzania) vs Wolaita Dicha (Ethiopia)
Generation Foot (Senegal) vs RS Berkane (Morocco)
Mounana (Gabon) vs El Masry (Egypt)
ASEC Mimosas (Cote d’Ivoire) vs CR Belouizdad (Algeria)
Williamsville (Cote d’Ivoire) vs Niefang (Equatorial Guinea)
MFM FC (Nigeria) vs Djoliba (Mali)
Rayon Sport (Rwanda) vs Costa do Sol (Mozambique)
(First-named clubs will host the first leg games)