By Adeboye Amosu:
Nigerian clubs have struggled to make an impact on the continent over the years. Ever since Enyimba blazed the trail by lifting the then elusive CAF Champions League title in 2003 and successfully defended it the following year, clubs in the country have struggled to make an impact on the continent.
Last season, none of the four representatives, Kano Pillars, Enyimba, Dolphins and Warri Wolves made it to the group stage of the Champions League and the Confederation Cup.
Of the four that clubs that played on the continent last season, only two, Enyimba and Warri Wolves, will have a go once more in 2016.
The Peoples Elephant will start their campaign in the competition against Ugandan outfit, Vipers SC. Should they progress to the next round, they will face the winner of the game between Lioli FC of Lesotho and Burundian Champions, Vital’0.
With the quality of players at the disposal of the club, going past their preliminary opponents and either of their first round foes should not be a problem for Enyimba.
Now departed coach Kadiri Ikhana led the Aba-based outfit to their first African title in 2003 and his experience would have been be vital as they bid to win a third title.
The experience of players like captain Chinedu Udoji, Markson Ojobo, Femi Thomas and Mfon Udoh will be crucial for them.
The addition of Dare Ojo and Olufemi Oladapo from Kwara Ojo and Bayelsa United has no doubt make the team more stronger.
Theophilus Afelokhai has also joined from Kano Pillars making them a formidable force.
The Seasiders will be making their debut appearance in the CAF Champions League. They have a fair experience of playing in the continent having played in the Confederation Cup a couple of times.
That experience should put them in good stead for the competition next year where they will come up against some of the top sides in the competition.
The Warri-based side will however need to keep their top stars if they want to fight for the top prize.
The likes of Oghenekaro Etebo, Gbolahan Salami, Stanley Dimgba and Lordson Ichull who played key roles in their impressive showing in the league last term have been linked with moves away from the club.
The management of the club will also need to motivate the players by paying their salaries as and when due.
Nasarawa United may be lacking experience, but they surely have highly rated and top quality stars in their ranks.
The likes of Bature Yaro, Esosa Igbinoba, Seun Sogbeso and Mannir Ubale are talented stars who have proved they can help bring silverware to the club.
Add that to hunger and desire of their youthful tactician, Kabiru Dogo, to make name for himself, then the Solid Miners look set to go on a fairytale run in the CAF Confederation Cup, just like they did in the Glo Premier League last season, when they finished third on the log.
It will interesting to see how the Promise Keepers cope in their debut appearance on the continent. Despite their struggles in the top flight last term, the Uyo-based outfit won the Nigeria Federation Cup for the first time.
Zachary Baraje, the man who led them to win the Federation Cup, has been ditched for Belgian tactician, Maurice Cooreman.
Their success in the Confederation Cup will depend on them keeping their top stars like Namso Edo, Aniekpeno Udoh and Abdulafeez Awakan at the club.