NIGERIA'S YUSUF LEADS AL HILAL AGAINST ENYIMBA
Al Hilal of Sudan banks on Nigerian international, Yusuf Mohammed, when it squares up against former champion, Enyimba International in tomorrow's CAF Champions League as the competition enters the money-spinning stage.
The Super Eagles' defender was in the Enyimba squad that lifted the Champions League trophy back-to-back in 2003 and 2004 before he sojourned to Sudan for greener pastures with Al Hilal. He is believed to know the strengths and weaknesses of Enyimba.
'With all modesty and respect to my former club, Enyimba, Al Hilal are far better and stronger and we will surely run over them to move ahead in the competition. I have played for both clubs and I can tell you that presently Enyimba doesn't have the capacity to beat Hilal' he said ahead of tomorrow's clash.
'Another big boost for us is that this time around the government of Sudan through the Football Association is seriously backing Hilal to win the Champions League.
They have tagged our participation in the competition this time around as 'The Sudan Project' and the government has promised that it would do everything morally and financially to back the team to win the trophy.' Mohammed added
'So, the entire club are not taking this competition lightly, we are psyched up to be champions. Enyimba or any other team in our group can, therefore, not stop us from progressing. We are best prepared and motivated by the people of Sudan to win the competition.'
However, Enyimba's lead scorer, Barnabas Imienger, who is making his debut in the champions League, has dismissed any threat from the Jigawa State-born defender vowing that he and his team mates would make things pretty difficult for him tomorrow.
'Nigerian players have a way of creating problems for their former Clubs. That is the beauty of this game. It happens everywhere within the world of football. Yusuf will not like how he will be marked out of the game. He is obviously not a threat. He and his entire team mates would be put in permanent check for most of the ninety minutes of the game' Imienger boasted.
'It will not make sense to single him out in our match plan. But, I can assure you that we know him more than he knows us. We will so make things difficult for him that we will force him to drop the idea of any planned rampage' the Enyimba's hit man added.
Unlike Enyimba that has grappled with poor funding in recent times, the Sudanese side enjoys robust motivation and looks primed enough in the chase for its first Champions League title.
'We know them enough to make them uncomfortable in our home. At least we know they are well funded and equally well motivated. But we wish to show them we are more passionate and more determined' Imienger averred.
Both sides last met in the championship in 2008 with Enyimba progressing to the group phase after the two-legged tie. Al Hilal had won the first leg in Khartoum 3-2 courtesy of a last minute strike by Nigerian-born Ifeanyi Onuigbo. But Enyimba turned the table in Aba with a comprehensive 4-1 bashing of the Sudanese.