Al MerreikhBackpagepix

Al Merreikh land in Nigeria late for Enyimba showdown

Al Merreikh have arrived late in Nigeria for Wednesday's Caf Champions League first round second leg encounter against Enyimba.

According to a post on the club’s Twitter handle, the Sudanese top-flight side landed in Abuja on Sunday afternoon aboard Al Zaeem’s private plane. There, they will board another aircraft to Owerri before heading to Aba by road.

The Leader's expected day of arival was Saturday, and their inability to show up as planned propelled the Nigeria Football Federation to write to the Confederation of African Football – asking them of their whereabouts.

“We write to bring to your attention that A Merreikh SC communicated to us its schedule to arrive in Nigeria on Saturday, 2nd January 2021 at about 1800hrs via chartered flight through Port Harcourt International Airport. Thus, we mobilize resources in readiness to receive the team as scheduled,” the statement from NFF read.

“However, on 1st January, 2021, we received another correspondence intimating us of its arrival on Saturday, 2nd January 2021 via EgyptAir at about 1345hrs. We deployed vehicles to Port Harcourt Airport and personnel to Lagos Airport in anticipation of the arrival of the team in any of the two entry points.

“Up till 2200hrs of the day, Saturday 2nd January 2021, Al Merreikh SC did not arrive in any of the two entry points and did not communicate to us changes in its plans. Thus, we are handicapped as to what to do and where to receive the team.

“It may also interest you to know that we have tried various communication channels to reach the team, including through its Embassy in Nigeria but all in vain.

“We would very much appreciate if Caf prevails on the team to immediately communicate its movement to us for ease of discharging our obligations and responsibilities as a host.”

Saif Terry’s hat-trick handed Didier Gomes Da Rosa’s side a commanding 3-0 first-leg triumph inside Al-Merrikh Stadium in Omdurman.

The People's Elephant must defeat the 21-time Sudan Premier League winners by at least four unreplied goals in the second leg billed for the Enyimba International Stadium, Aba to progress to the group phase.

Failure to do that would see the eight-time Nigeria Professional Football League champions demoted to the Caf Confederation Cup.