Nigeria’s representative in the 2016-17 CAF competition Rivers United will be looking to start their campaign on high as they tackle Club Africain this weekend.
Rangers, Rivers United, FC IfeanyiUbah and Wikki Tourists started the year as Nigeria’s representatives in CAF Competitions.
Rangers, Rivers were the representatives in the CAF Champions League but both teams got knocked out into the CAF Confederation Cup with Rangers failing to make it to the group stages while Rivers progressed.
Wikki Tourists and FC Ifeanyiubah who were the representatives in the CAF Confederations Cup but didn’t make it beyond the first round of the competition.
Rivers United have never taken part in the Caf Confederation Cup prior to 2017 and qualification for the group stage is pretty much uncharted territory for the Port Harcourt club.
The Nigerians are in group A alongside FUS Rabat (Morocco), Club Africain (Tunisia) and KCCA (Uganda).
FUS Rabat were winners of the competition in 2010 and reached the semi-final in 2016.
They were runners up in the Caf Super Cup in 2011 and current sit in seventh place in the Botola Pro (Moroccan top flight) a competition they have won on one previous occasion (2016) while finishing as runners up five times (1973, 1974, 1981, 2001 and 2002) in the past.
Club Africain also have a storied history in African football.
They were African champions in 1991 and runners up of the Caf Confederation Cup in 2011.
The Tunisians also made their mark in the now rested Cup Winners Cup where they finished as runners up on two occasions (1990 and 1999).
Many view the final side in the group KCCA as the weakest link in the section but the Ugandans have earned their stripes as one of the most formidable sides in East Africa.
On Wednesday, KCCA emerged champions of Uganda for the 12th time following a 2-0 victory over Lweza FC at the Phillip Omondi Stadium.
The Kasasasiro Boys (Garbage Collectors) have been competing in African club competition since 1977 and reached the quarter finals of the continent’s premiere club competition where they came unstuck against the powerful Asante Kotoko side in 1982 that whacked them 7-1 on aggregate.
They have also reached the quarter finals of inter Caf club competition on three other occasions but never progressed past that stage.
While all three clubs in Group A are dyed-in-the-wool campaigners in African club competition, Rivers United is making only its first expedition in such treacherous waters.