CAF Confederation Cup: Rivers United learn group stage opponents

CAF Confederation Cup: Rivers United learn group stage opponents
Credit: Icon sport

Nigeria’s remaining representative in CAF competitions, Rivers United, have been handed a tricky group in the CAF Confederation Cup following the completion of the draw in Johannesburg, South Africa on Friday. 

At the draw ceremony which took place at the studios of Supersport TV in the South African capital, the 16 winners of the second round of qualifying rounds were drawn into four groups of four. The top two teams in each group will advance to the quarter-final stage. 

Rivers United, who won the NPFL title in 2022, were drawn alongside Ghanian side Dreams FC of Ghana, Tunisian giants Club Africain and Academica do Lobito of Angola in Group C.

Rivers United were the only Nigerian club in the draw after Bendel Insurance lost out to RS Berkane in Morocco last weekend. The Pride of Rivers got to the quarter-finals of this competition last season and will be hoping to do better this term.

What we know about Rivers United’s opponents

The Pride of Rivers have been paired with Club Africain who are still searching for success in CAF continental competitions in its present format and two debutants – Dreams FC and Academica. 

Club Africain is a Tunisian club and they won the African Club of Champions Cup back in 1991 when they recorded a 6-2 home win against Ugandan side SC Villa after a 1-1 away draw in the first leg. They were also losing finalists in this competition back in 2011. 

Rivers United faced Club Africain twice in the 2017 edition of this competition and they lost on both occasions – 5-1 on aggregate. 

Dreams FC, who are the Ghana FA Cup holders, enter the competition for the very first time in history after eliminating teams from Guinea and Sierra Leone.

Meanwhile, Rivers United will return to Angola for the second-straight season as they face debutants – Academica. The Angolan side Lobito shocked Al Merreikh of Sudan 3-0 on aggregate to book their place in the group stages of the CAF Confederation Cup for the first time.

To get to this stage of the competition for the second successive season, the Port-Harcourt-based side left it late against stubborn Etoile Filante de Quagadougou on Sunday winning 2-0 courtesy a brace from Alex Oyowah. 

The first leg ended goalless before Stanley Eguma’s boys rallied round to take the much-expected win in the return fixture of the second preliminary round game played at the Adokiye Amiesimaka stadium in Port-Harcourt.

The group phase of the Confederation Cup will begin on Sunday, November 26, 2023, through to March 3, 2024.

In a related development, Rivers United must perform well in this competition to ensure the NPFL retain its 12th position on the CAF 5-year rankings – which guarantees two teams per competitions – or risk losing that to Cote d’Ivoire.

CAF Confederation Cup draw in full

GROUP A. Al Hilal Benghazi, SuperSport United, Future FC, USM Alger

GROUP B. Abu Salim SC, Academie SOAR, Sagrada Espéranca, Zamalek SC

GROUP C. Academica do Lobito, Dreams FC, Club Africain, Rivers United

GROUP D. Sekhukhune United, Stade Malien, Diables Noir, RS Berkane

This article was most recently revised and updated 9 months ago

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