There is fire on the mountain following MFM’s 6-0 humiliation by MC Alger in the CAF Champions League. The continental body may be forced to reduce Nigeria’s slot to one instead of the present two. Sadly enough, 2017 Premier league leaders, Plateau United, were also knocked out in the same first round.
Losing 6-0 is the country’s worst performance ever in the elite African soccer clubs championships in 50 years of participation. It is worse than the 6-1 demolition of Enyimba by Ismaili in 2003, New Nigeria Bank’s 5-0 loss to Africa Sports in 1986 and Etoile du Sahel’s 5-0 battering of Eagle Cement in 1998.
We could excuse Enyimba. They went ahead to win the cup in 2003 at the expense of their Egyptian conquerors. Both teams met four times in that year’s competition. In the group stage, the Peoples Elephant lost 6-1 in Egypt in a match that cost keeper Vincent Enyeama the Skipper’s band. The return leg ended 4-2 for the hosts.
Enyimba qualified for the finals and their foes again were Ismaili. In the Aba first leg, the Nigerians grabbed a 2-0 victory which the Egyptians could not cancel with a 1-0 advantage in Ismailia. Enyimba thus remain the only Nigerian team to have won the CAF Champions League. They retained it in 2004.
Mountain of Fire[MFM] were a sickening sight last Saturday. They conceded the first of six goals in the second minute and at half time were 4-0 down. The sixth goal came in the last minute. Keeper Abayomi Folarin will not forget this experience .
Algeria seems to be the Golgotha of Nigerian teams in the competition. In the 1988 grand finale, Heartland [Iwuanyanwu Nationale] were damaged 4-0 by second division club Entente Petroles Setif. All four goals came in the second half in a match that coach Dmitris Theophanis and Friday Ekpo were sent off.
Thompson Oliha was stretchered off and it was a miracle he survived with 17 stitches on his face. Skipper Mike Obi was down with malaria. Stand in captain Cyril Levi wore gloves to protect himself from cold Constantine.
The first Algerian disaster came in 1976 when Mouloudia Chalia cancelled Rangers 2-0 advantage to advance to the finals on 3-2 aggregate. The Flying Antelopes had lost to Hafia, Guinea in the 1975 finals. The Algerians progressed to face the Guineans in the 1976 finals.
MFM’s ouster means they will step down to the Confederations Cup alongside Plateau United. The Olukoya Boys are a shade better than Otoho d’Oyo of Congo who were trounced 9-0 by MC Alger in the preliminary round. Fifteen home goals in two matches, a plus for the Algerians.
North Africans have a way of disgracing Nigerian teams. Emma Okala quit active soccer in 1982 after Al Ahli dazed Rangers 4-0 in Cairo. It was a bad year for the goalie who got a red card in the first around against Primeiro de Agosto, Angola in Luanda for punching an opponent.
The Coal City Boys were outstanding that year before that loss to Ahli. They did not lose at away until the semis. In Angola it was 1-1. Against AS Kaloum in Conakry, scores stood at 1-0. AS Kouba of Algeria fell 2-1 in the quarter finals.
And Rangers remain the only Nigerian club to have defeated an Algerian side home and away in the competition. In 1982, they spanked RS Kouba 5-0 in the first leg .It was a day Sylvanus Okpala bagged a hat-trick. Emma Osigwe and Kenneth Boardman completed the demolition job.
READ ALSO: SPORTS FLAKES: 12th is Enyimba’s lucky day
Enyimba and Shooting Stars also broke Algerian hearts. In 1996, the Oluyole Warriors sent out JS Kabylie, thanks to a 1-1 away draw in the semi finals. Enyimba earned the same result against USM Algiers, again in the semis, in 2003.
Heartland have our best away record in the competition. This they achieved in 2009 with a 6-1 damage to Black Star of Liberia in 2009. The first leg had ended 4-0 in Owerri. In other words, with a 10-1 aggregate, the Naze Millionaires can beat their chests. Unfortunately they lost in the finals on away goals rule to TP Mazembe of Congo Democratic Republic after 2-2 aggregate scores.
Heartland also disgraced other teams. In 1991, they hit JAC Gabon 5-0 in Owerri thanks to Rowland Warri’s brace and other goals from the trio of Mike Obi, Emma Okocha and Oliha. Heartland tormented Kano Pillars 4-0 in one of the 2009 semis.
The highest score by a Nigerian side was achieved in1974 by Insurance who walloped Secteur 7, Niger, 7-0. The Insurers could not go beyond the second round as they lost to Djoliba of Mali. The second leg against Secteur Seven in Niamey ended in a 1-0 loss to the Nigeriens.
Shooting Stars made it 7-1 over Township Rollers of Botswana in 1981. In the away second leg, they lost 2-0. In 1984,the Ibadan team beat Semassi Sekode of Togo 5-1 in the semis. Not to be forgotten is the second round game with Tonnerre Kalara of Cameroun.
The first leg ended 4-0 in favour of Shooting. In Yaounde, Canon made it 4-0.Shooting Stars boss, Chief Lekan Salami, did not know how he found himself in the loo. Fortunately, Muda Lawal’s penalty saved the day. His team won 6-5 penalties.
Other Nigerian teams that scored many goals include Enyimba who defeated Bakili Bullets of Malawi 6-0 in 2004, on their way to a second cup victory. In 2008, the Aba Ngwa side thrashed Simba, Tanzania 4-0 thanks to a Stephen Worgu hat-trick. Tunisia’s Club Africain fumbled 5-1.
One interesting part of the 5-1 win was that Monday Osagie scored for Enyimba while Junior Osagie scored for the Tunisians. Former Enyimba star, Victor Ezeji, and compatriot Vincent Orode played for the opposition. Emeka Akueme netted a brace.
Worgu emerged tops with 13 goals but Enyimba crashed out in the semi finals. In the same competition, they lost 3-0 to Mazembe and fell to Cottonsport Garoua by the same margin.
We also remember how Leventis United bombed Real Bamako 4-0 in 1987. Berger did the same to Diable Noirs of Congo in 1990, thanks to the quartet of Oliver Makkor, Peter Obanor, Kabir Mohammed and Edema Fuludu.