For the 5th consecutive season, there won’t be a Nigerian team in the group stage of the CAF Champions League.
Both of the country’s representatives this season were knocked out in painful circumstances in the first preliminary round.
Enyimba were eliminated after a narrow 4-3 defeat to Al Ahly Benghazi in Libya and a barren draw in Aba. Remo Stars were pipped on even more excruciating conditions, losing on penalties to Ghanaian champions, Medeama after a 1-1 draw.
In the CAF Confederation Cup, the situation is a bit palatable. Nigeria have had at least a team in the group stage in four of the last five previous seasons and Rivers United and Bendel Insurance could make it to the money-spinning round this season if they get past Etoile Filante and RS Berkane.
But despite a more consistent appearance in the main stages of the second-tier competition, no Nigerian team has managed to go beyond the quarter-finals in five years.
Nigeria Is Set To Drop On CAF’s League Rankings
Those steady run of poor results on the continent now look set to cost Nigeria two slots if Rivers United and Bendel Insurance fail to make it to the group stage.
Nigeria is currently ranked 12th on CAF’s 5-year club ranking system. That is the last position for teams that supply 2 teams for each of CAF’s club competitions.
However, failure to make it to at least the group stages will see a massive drop in points and consequently a position drop.
With no team through to the group stage yet, Ivory Coast are already primed to leapfrog Nigeria. They could also widen the point gap with ASEC Mimosas and Academie de FAD in prime positions to qualify for the group stages.
The last time only two Nigerian teams played on the continent was in the 2018-2019 season. Both Lobi Stars(CAFCL) and Enugu Rangers(CAFCC) qualified for the group stage that season.
How The CAF Rankings Work
The CAF club ranking is a five-year system that grades teams on how they finish in both of CAF’s club competitions. The winner of the Champions League gets 6 points. 5 points for the runner-up, 4 points for the semi-finalists, and 3 for the quarter-finalists. The team that finishes third in each group gets 2 points and the bottom sides get a solitary point.
It’s the same for the Confederation Cup but one point less for each round and 0.5 points for the team that finishes bottom in the group stage.
Points from each season are multiplied by a coefficient according to the year. 5 for the most recent season and 1 for the furthest of the five seasons.
Rivers United face Etoile Filante in Port-Harcourt while Insurance travel to Morocco to play RS Berkane.