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Football | CAF Confederations Cup


Amiesimaka expects stiff Club African test

Former Nigerian international, Chief Adokiye Amiesimaka expects a stiff test for Rivers United when they face Club Africain in their opening game of the group stage of the 2017 Caf Confederation Cup.

The Nigerian vice champions travel to Tunis to face the Tunisian club at Stade Olympique de Radès, Radès on 14 May in the second game of group A.

Amiesimaka says facing Club Africain on enemy territory will be no walk in the Park and warns ‘The Pride of Rivers’ to prepare to overcome a battle of attrition if they are to avoid leaving the cauldron of hate and noise without their tails hanging firmly between their legs.

“I expect the game between Rivers United and Club Africain in Tunisia next Sunday to be a very tough one,” Amiesimaka told supersport.com.

“North African football fans are the most passionate and vociferous supporters of club and country in Africa.

“They ensure that visiting teams feel the pressure from their arrival at the airport.

“They may not necessarily be hostile, but they leave you in no doubt that you'll not be playing against only 11 men on the day of the match.

“And without exception, they attack relentlessly backed by a cacophony of ear-piercing noise from the blast of the referee's whistle,” he said.

Tactics and avoiding the ‘mistakes of Omdurman’

United’s last visit to North Africa did not end well as they suffered a humbling 0-4 defeat to Sudanese club, Al Merreikh.

That defeat meant United fell at the second hurdle of the Caf Champions League as they failed to reach the money-spinning stage of the competition – Africa’s Premier Club competition.

Amiesimaka says Nigeria’s sole survivor in this year’s inter Caf club competition must produce a perfect game plan to get any joy in Tunis.

“To successfully absorb the pressure, if you choose to just sit back and let them bring it on, you must have top notch tactical discipline in defence.

“I doubt whether such Italian-style discipline in defence is the strong point of any Nigerian team.

“I was in the national team, the Green Eagles (now Super Eagles) in 1977 when we played our penultimate 1978 World Cup Qualifier in Tunisia.

“That was the most difficult match that I ever played for club or country!

“It was a match that put our mental and physical fitness to the test.

“We resolved to turn deaf ears to the firecrackers and boos, and tried to give even more than we received. Our strategy was mass attack, mass defence.

“Each and every one of us worked tirelessly for the team.

“Even I, whose orientation was attack, became defence conscious whenever we lost ball possession, and was commended for it at the end of the match.

“And whenever we had ball possession, we made it clear we were bent on scoring, thereby putting them too under considerable pressure and making them have a second thought about attacking full steam ahead.

“Our strategy paid off and we forced them to a goalless draw in their backyard!

“I hope this will be instructive and help us formulate the appropriate match plan for the encounter in Tunisia,” he concluded.


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