CAF Confederation Cup: Rivers, Plateau draw Libyan foes


Abiodun Adewale.

Nigeria Professional League clubs Rivers United and Plateau United have been drawn against Libyan opponents in the preliminary round of qualifiers for the CAF Confederation Cup.

NPFL champions Rivers United have been drawn against El Nasr Benghazi of Libya, while Plateau United were paired against another Libyan side Al-Akhdar.

The additional second preliminary round of the 2022/2023 CAF Confederation Cup draw saw the 16 teams that qualified from the second preliminary round of the Confederation Cup play the 16 teams that lost the second preliminary round of the CAF Champions League.

The draws took place at CAF’s headquarters in Cairo, Egypt on Tuesday.

Both Rivers and Plateau crashed into the second-tier competition after failing to pick group stage tickets of the CAF Champions League against Wydad Casablanca of Morocco and Esperance of Tunisia.

Similar to their failed Champions League attempt, both clubs will host the first legs of the encounters, before travelling to Libya for the return leg.

Rivers United host El Nasr Benghazi at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, Port Harcourt Nov 2, while Plateau United entertain Al-Akhdar at the Moshood Abiola Stadium, Abuja same day.

The second leg of the encounters will follow a week later at the respective home grounds of the Libyan clubs.

Crossing this final hurdle for the NPFL sides means they will feature in the group stage of the CAF Confederation Cup.

What you need to know about EL Nasr Benghazi

As the name suggests, El-Nasr Benghazi is a Libyan professional football club based in Benghazi; Libya’s second most populous city.

Founded in 1954, they play their home matches at the 10,550 Martyrs of Bnina Stadium in Benghazi.

They have won the Libyan Premier League twice, first in 1987 and in the 2017/18 season.

In CAF continental competitions, they have managed few appearances, most recently in 2019/20; although they failed to qualify for the group stage.

EL Nasr have also managed three appearances in the second-tier competition, with their farthest stage being a quarter-final finish in the 2019/20 season, where they infamously lost 7-0 on aggregate to Hassania Agadir of Morocco.

They had two Nigerian players Junior Ajayi and King Osanga in their squad for the 2009/10 season.

What you need to know about Al-Akhdar

Al Akhdar Sports Club was founded in 1958, with their home ground the 10, 000-seater Omar Al-Mukhtar Stadium, Bayda.

The club has no piece of silverware yet in Libya and only boasts some couple of appearances in CAF inter-club competitions – those were preliminary round and round of 16 finishes at the 2006 and 2008 CAF Confederation Cup.

Their current squad consists of mostly Libyan players. They finished third in the 2021/22 Libyan Premier League season.

CAF Confederation Cup fixtures

AS Vita/Kadiogo vs FC St Eloi Lupopo (DRC)

Royal Leopards (Eswatini) vs Real Bamako (Mali)

TP Mazembe (DRC) vs Royal AM (S’Africa)

Primeiro (Ang) vs Future FC (Egy)

ASEC (I’Coast) vs Gagnoa (I’Coast)

Djoliba (Mali) vs AS FAR (Mor)

Al Ahli (Lib) vs Marumo (S’Africa)

ASKO (Tog) vs Sfaxien (Tun)

Young Africans (Tan) vs Club Africain (Tun)

Flambeau (Bur) vs Motema Pembe (DRC)

Rivers United (Ngr) vs El Nasr (Lib)

Monastir (Tun) vs Berkane (Mor)

Cape Town (S’Africa) vs USM (Alg)

Nigelec (Nig) vs Pyramids (Egy)

La Passe (Sey) vs Diables Noirs (Con)

Plateau United (Ngr) vs Al Akhder (Lib)