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Enyimba boss wary of Djoliba threat

Enyimba boss wary of Djoliba threat

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Festus Abu

Enyimba manager Paul Aigbogun  has told  his team to play their CAF Confederation Cup group stage opener  against AC Djoliba at the U.J. Esuene Stadium in Calabar on Sunday like a cup final.

The 2003, 2004 African champions are the only Nigerian side in the continent’s second tier tournament  after Nigerian champions Plateau United, Akwa United and MFM were  sent packing in the qualifying stage.

Aigbogun  insists Bamako outfit  Djoliba, who have yet to win any championship since 2013,  deserve respect.

The  manager, who rejoined  the 2003, 2005 African Super Cup champions last year, believes the Malians could pose a major threat to  the People’s Elephant’s bid to reach the next round of the tournament if  underestimated.

Djoliba edged out MFM  1-0 on aggregate in the first round, having won the first leg 1-0 at the Agege Stadium in Lagos to qualify for the group stage.

 “We saw what happened to MFM  in Lagos and so we must be careful so as not to fall prey to the same home advantage trap,”  the News Agency of Nigeria  quoted Aigbogun as saying on Wednesday.

“In this competition, you have to be prepared to win everywhere; it doesn’t matter whether it is home or away.

“In our previous games – against Energie of Benin and South Africa’s Bidvest Wits – they made things difficult for us in the second leg. But our first leg advantage gave us the edge.

“It is going to be a big test for us, different from our previous games. But I’m confident we can beat them.”

He added, “We are going to try our best to win the game. Our first target is to top our group and a good result in this game will put us in a good position to do that.”

The  Aba  Premier League  club are in Group C alongside  Djoliba, CARA of Congo and Ivory Coast’s  Williamsville.

Aigbogun, who is also the head coach of  the national  U20 team, however insists all four clubs in the group have the potential to make it to the next round.

He said, “What is important now is for us to keep working hard and not take anything for granted.

“At this stage of the competition, it is only hard work and proper planning that can make us achieve our objectives.’’

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