CAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Top coaches Christian Chukwu and John Obuh have decried the premature exit of Kano Pillars from the CAF Champions League at the weekend.
Nigeria champions Pillars crashed out in the very first hurdle when they lost 4-3 on aggregate to AS Vita of DR Congo.
Former Nigeria coach Christian Chukwu described Pillars elimination as unfortunate and an embarrassment to the country.
â€œPillarsâ€™ elimination was quite unfortunate. They did their best, but it was not good enough,â€ lamented Chukwu.
â€œNo doubt, the non-start of the league contributed a lot to this loss just as the managementâ€™s delay in picking a coach cannot be too far away as one of the reason for this shock exit.â€
Former Nigeria Under-20 coach Obuh insisted that Pillars ouster makes mockery of the Nigerian league.
â€œIt is quite distasteful to hear that the Nigerian league champions are once again out of the continent in the preliminary round. It goes to show that much still needed to be done by the league managers so that we get credible representations,â€ Obuh said.
â€œHowever, it must be stated that the non start of the domestic league has to a very large extent affected our teams on the continent. The earlier we put the league in order, the better for all of us. It is very painful.â€
Nigeriaâ€™s other representatives in the CAF Champions League, Enyimba FC of Aba, has been commended by a former player of the team Joetex Frimpong, for qualifying for the next round of the competition.
Frimpong, who works as assistant coach/player at Swiss lower division side, SC Dudengen, believes the team can excel in the 2014 edition.
â€œThe Champions League is not complete without Enyimba and others like Al-Ahly Nationale, Esperance, TP Mazembe et al.
â€œEnyimba has always shown character and thereâ€™s a mixture of experienced and new players,â€ he noted.
Frimpong equally applauded the club for their result against Togolese side, Angers de Notse, in the preliminary round.
â€œIâ€™m not surprised Enyimba is through to the next round. Players in the club know the tradition, so they want to maintain it. Itâ€™s not an easy task.
â€œThe ability to achieve a turnaround is one of the qualities of Enyimba and only a few clubs can achieve that.
â€œBesides, you need to score goals away from home if you want to reach the group stage,â€ he said to SuperSport.com.
Enyimba came from a goal down to win the first leg 3-1 and got an away goal as they lost 1-2, in Lome to qualify 4-3 on aggregate.
Frimpong won the 2003 and 2004 editions with the Aba side and was on the losing side in the 2006 finals with Tunisiaâ€™s Club Sportif Sfaxien.
In 2005, he made history as the first player to score 15 goals in three (2003, 2004 and 2005) editions of the competition.