By Francis Ajuonuma
Rivers United, Plateau United have progressed into the next stage of the Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) Champions League at the expense of Watanga FC of Liberia and Stade Mandji of Gabon respectively.
Playing at the New Jos Stadium, Plateau United struggled to a 1-0 victory over Stade Mandji with the goal coming in the 63rd minute off the boot of midfielder, Haggai Katoh to ensure that the home side progressed on 3-2 aggregate. The first leg tie played on September 10 in Gabon ended 2-2.
For Rivers United progression into the next stage was not victory all the way as they lost their return leg clash 1-0 to Watanga FC in Monrovia but qualified on 3-1 aggregate having won the first leg 3-0 in Port Harcourt on September 11.
Plateau United will now play in the second preliminary round where they face Espérance de Tunis of Tunisia, hosting the first leg match on October 7.
Rivers Utd will next take on reigning champions Wydad Athletic Club of Morocco in their second preliminary round fixture.
In the Confederations Cup, Kwara United had more than the physical to battle with in Niamey but maintained their focus and forced a stalemate to power past AS Douanes to the next round of the competition on a 3-0 aggregate.
The Ilorin-based club held a healthy 3-0 advantage from the first leg, having outsmarted the Nigeriens in Nigeria last week.
But Douanes and their supporters were not giving up easily, and moments before kick-off, some metaphysical drama took place.
Two Nigerien herbalists attacked Kwara United players with goat blood and sprinkled it on them and the ground they walked on.
But whatever benefits that action was expected to bestow on AS Douanes did not materialise as Kwara United stood firm for ninety minutes and refused to concede a goal.
The Afonja Warriors are, therefore, through to the second qualifying round of the competition.
However, the same cannot be said about Nigeria’s other representative in the championship, Remo Stars, who were beaten 1-0 at home in Remo Ikenne by Far Rabat of Morocco to crash out of the competition despite going into the match with an away goal advantage from the first leg encounter which ended 1-1 in Rabat a week ago.