Head coach of Nigeria Professional Football League champions, Rivers United, Stanley Eguma, is not thinking of current CAF Champions League winners, Wydad Athletic, as they are likely to cross paths on the way to the group stage of the continent’s top club football competition.
At a draw ceremony on Tuesday in Cairo, the 2022/23 CAF Champions League draw had the Nigerian champions pitted against Liberia’s Watanga FC over two legs in the first round of the preliminary stage.
The winners of the fixture set up a clash with Wydad for a place in the group stage.
While the Liberian champions are no pushovers, Rivers are favourites to go through as they hope to make their first appearance in the group stage of the competition.
“It’s a good draw for me because I feel any team can be your opponents in the fixtures; for you to be champion you must be ready to faceany opposition,” Eguma said.
“So, I’m not surprised to see the draw against Watanga as our first opposition and we are going to prepare for them very well to ensure we advance to the next phase.
“It is a very tough one having Rivers United pitted in the same path to the group stage with Wydad because they are the defending champions; it is going to be a tough game. They have a lot of experience and they’ve won the tournament in the past. But we should be ready to meet any opponent if we want to become champions. Right now we are concerned with the Liberian team and we have to cross that hurdle first before we start talking about Wydad.”
The Pride of Rivers, as Rivers are fondly called, will hope to make their first appearance in the group stage of the continent’s premier club competition after being halted last season by Sudan’s Al Hilal, having defeated Tanzania’s Young Africans on aggregate in the opening round.