It’s been 14 years since Lagos, the economic capital of Nigeria last had a football club play on the continent.
Well over a decade since Julius Berger FC (now Bridge FC) bowed out of the CAF Champions League in 2004, out of a compact, mini stadium in the north of the ‘centre of excellence’ shuttled out MFM FC as they weaved and survived the relegation in their first season in the top flight which most critics (including their fans) had set for them. Surprisingly they even contended for the title a year later until the last game of the season and ultimately grabbed a CAF Champions League ticket for the first time in their 11-year history having gained promotion just a season prior.
However, those were sweeter times for the Yahweh Singers who had been struggling to replicate the unprecedented doggedness and fluidity which landed them on the continent since the inception of the new NPFL season. With the CAF Champions League preliminary round game against Real de Bamako at the Stade Modibo Keïta Stadium this Sunday, the Olukoya Boys desperately need to improve on their NPFL showings too.
With a meager 9 points from 7 games, no away point(s) and just a paltry one goal scored on the road that has confined them to 13th on the log, MFM FC are obviously rattled beyond the projected estimation by the sale of Stephen Odey, the teenage wonder who helped with 18 goals last term.
Against a slightly better Real de Bamako side who are 8th in the Malien Premier Division struggling at home lately with just 1 home win out of last 4. MFM FC can’t be totally ruled out for an upset in Bamako.
Now to a club soaring gallantly above the trajectory of expectations, Akwa United, as they take on Hawks FC of the Gambia in the CAF Confederation Cup preliminary round game at the ‘Nest of Champions’. Akwa United have been formidable since the beginning of the season, sitting on top of the NPFL log with just a defeat in 7 matches.
New recruit Victor Mboama has proved a shrewd acquisition with his impressive haul of goals and he should be able to continue his productivity against Hawks FC who may be intimidated by the Promise Keepers form.