Following their 4-2 defeat on aggregate to Sudan’s Al Merreikh in the Caf Champions League first round, the two-time African champions got relegated to the second-tier competition of African club football.
And going by the pairing conducted at Caf Headquarter in Cairo on Friday, Fatai Osho’s men would be gunning for glory – albeit, they must negotiate their way past their Nigeria Professional Football League rivals or the South African topflight side.
The second leg first round clash between the Pride of Rivers and John Maduka’s Siwelele billed for the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, Port Harcourt on Wednesday was called off by the Confederation of African Football following the South Africans’ failure to get a waiver to fly into Nigeria from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) had pleaded with Caf to stage the reverse fixture in any of the country’s neighbouring nations with a less strict Covid-19 protocols.
“Please understand that, the health policy as put in place by the Nigeria health authority is aimed at controlling the spread of the already number of Covid-19 infection in Nigeria and not aimed at South African nationals,” read a letter signed by NFF general secretary Mohammed Sanusi.
Late goals from Godwin Aguda and Fortune Omoniwari handed Stanley Eguma’s men a massive 2-0 away win in the first leg played at Dr. Petrus Molemela Stadium.
The first leg of the play-off round will hold at the Enyimba Stadium, Aba on February 14, 2020 with the return leg taking place seven days later.
Elsewhere, Cote d’Ivoire’s RC Abidjan have been drawn against Pyramids of Egypt, while Niger Republic's AS Sonidep will try Cameroon's Coton Sport for size. FC Platinum of Zimbabwe must overcome ASC Jaraaf (Senegal) to confirm their place in the round robin phase.