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Champions League: Enyimba to face Al-Hilal, Raja

By John Egbokhan
The draws for the lucrative Champions League group stage were made yesterday with Nigeria’s lone representatives, Enyimba  drawn in Group A, where they face Hilal of Sudan, Coton Sport Garouna of Cameroon and Raja of Morocco.

In what appears a tricky group, Enyimba face very stiff competition from Raja, who have won the competition thrice in 1989, 1997 and 1999 but in the last decade, they have not measured up to the cut while the Nigerian side, have been a force to reckon with. They won in 2003 and 2004

They beat Ismaily of Egypt in the two-legged finals in 2003 before making a successful defence of the trophy in the 2004 finals, by whipping Etoile du Sahel of Tunisia 5-3 on penalties.

Cotonsport of Garoua were in the finals of the 2008 edition, losing to Al Ahly of Egypt. Raja have been consistent in the competition but are yet to make a significant impression in recent times while Hilal of Sudan are also yet to reach the zenith of African premium club competition.

In Group B, Ahly, the continent’s club of the decade, are the front-runners for a berth in the semifinals after being drawn to play against EST of Tunisia, Moloudia Club d’Alger of Algeria and either of Simba of Tanzania or Widad de Casablanca of Morocco.

Simba play Widad next week in a neutral venue to determine the fourth team to be in the group, following the disqualification of defending champions, TP Mazembe, for fielding an ineligible player, named, Janvier Besala Bokungu


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