Enyimba bank on Udoh for goals against Etoile

PHOTO:ENYIMBA FC

PHOTO:ENYIMBA FC

Enyimba of Nigeria hope Mfon Udoh maintains his CAF Champions League home scoring streak when they host Etoile Sahel of Tunisia this weekend in a round-of-16 highlight.

The 24-year-old striker bagged braces during victories over Vipers of Uganda and Vital’O of Burundi in south-eastern city Port Harcourt, a temporary home while their Aba ground is renovated.

Now comes an even greater challenge for Udoh against an outfit famed for their defensive solidity, and the only club to have won all five CAF competitions.

It is a clash of former champions with Enyimba conquering Africa in 2003 and 2004, when they beat the Tunisians in the final, and Etoile going all the way in 2007.

Udoh has been a stand-out performer and four goals give him a share of top spot in the scorers charts with Mamadou Diawara from Recreativo Libolo of Angola and Reda Hajhouj from Wydad Casablanca of Morocco.

Enyimba coach Paul Aigbogun says he has plenty of information on Etoile and believes a squad free of injuries and suspensions can establish a first leg lead at home.

“It is a nice change being able to choose from a full strength squad and I believe Etoile must worry about us rather than the other way round,” he said.

“We are happy to play at home in the first leg as a similar situation gave us the opportunity to score five goals against Vital’O in the last round.”

Enyimba and Etoile are among nine winners of the competition who have reached the 16-club final qualifying round for the lucrative group stage.

Record eight-time title-holders Al Ahly are away to Young Africans in Dar es Salaam hoping to maintain an Egyptian dominance over Tanzanian opponents in CAF competitions.

Guided by former Tottenham manager Martin Jol, the Cairo Red Devils will look to teenager Ramadan Sobhy for goals after he scored the winner in a recent Cup of Nations qualifier against Nigeria.

Another striker, Emad Meteb, is the only link with the great Ahly teams of the past decade that reached four consecutive Champions League finals from 2005, winning three.

Five-time champions Zamalek are the other Egyptian challengers and they also have a former English Premier League manager in charge, ex-Birmingham City and Aston Villa handler Alex McLeish.

The Cairo White Knights host newcomers Mouloudia Bejaia of Algeria, who impressed when overcoming Ashanti Gold of Ghana and Club Africain of Tunisia.

Another showdown between former champions pits Wydad against TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo, who celebrated a fifth success last year.

Twice former Real Madrid manager John Toshack coaches Wydad, who lost to Mazembe at the same stage in 2011, gained a reprieve when the Congolese were disqualified and went on to finish runners-up.

The other DR Congo hopefuls, beaten 2014 finalists V Club, have home advantage over Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa, who are seeking a return to the group stage after 15 years.

V Club were unimpressive winners over Mafunzo of Zanzibar and Ferroviario Maputo of Mozambique while Sundowns possess an unlikely threat in holding midfielder Hlompho Kekana.

Normally a shield in front of the defence, Kekana scored a wonder goal from his half for South Africa against Cameroon in a Cup of Nations qualifier last month.

Al Merrikh of Sudan and Entente Setif of Algeria meet for the second successive season with the Omdurman club winning at home and drawing away in 2015 group games.

Stade Malien of Mali host Zesco United of Zambia in the only game not involving a former champion while ASEC Mimosas of Ivory Coast enjoy home advantage over Al Ahly Tripoli of Libya.



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