Enyimba wary of Rayon Sports in Confederation Cup quarterfinal
Nigeria's Enyimba will take on Rayon Sports of Rwanda in the first leg of their CAF Confederation Cup quarterfinal tie in Kigali on Sunday without defensive stalwart Mohammed Farouk.
Farouk will serve a one-match suspension after collecting two yellow cards, a blow to coach Usman Abdallah as he seeks to return to Aba with a handy advantage ahead of the second leg a week later.
Enyimba will be favourites for the tie, but Abdallah is wary of leaving themselves too much to do in the second leg.
"This competition is at the quarterfinal stage and any team in this stage must have gone a long way to get here. None of the teams got to the quarterfinals by chance. It means all of the eight teams worked to get to this stage," the coach was quoted by the Nigerian Professional Football League website.
"For me, I am treating our opponents the same way like we have done against other opponents, and with respect. My mentality going into this fixture is that every team in the quarterfinals are of the same pedigree irrespective of past or present records.
"This is no time to underrate any opponent. We will prepare well for this fixture and pay attention to every little detail too.
"The most important thing now is to win and ensure we get to the semifinals, and from there we will wait for the next opponents. But now the focus is the quarterfinals against our opponents."
Congolese side CARA Brazzaville will host Raja Casablanca in the first leg of their knockout tie, coming off a dismal run of form that has seen them lose their last three matches.
CARA were beaten in Enyimba in their final group stage clash in the Confederation Cup and since then have also lost to La Mancha and Otôho d'Oyo in their domestic league.
By contrast, Raja are on a fine run of form with four victories, two by 6-0 scorelines, including in their previous match in this competition when they trounced Aduana Stars of Ghana.
Egyptian side Al-Masry will host USM Alger from Algeria in Port Said as they seek to reach a third continental semifinal.
Al-Masry reached the last four in the 1999 African Cup Winners' Cup and 2002 CAF Cup, two competitions that are no longer in existence, with the second of those resulting in a loss to Algerian side JS Kabylie.
The side rarely lose in Port Said, with their 16 previous home games in African club competition resulting in 14 wins, a draw and a single defeat, which was in the semifinals of the Cup Winners' Cup when they were downed 4-0 by Tunisian side Club Africain.
That draw did come this season though when they were held 0-0 by Tanzanian side Simba.
USM Alger were CAF Champions League winners three years ago when they completed a surprise success, but this year have had to settle for the secondary African competition, where they have battled with just a single away win in five matches so far.
The last of Sunday's quarterfinals sees DR Congo side AS Vita Club host RS Berkane of Morocco.
It is a tough tie to call, with both sides likely to run out home winners, suggesting it will come down to who can post the biggest win in front of their own fans.