Kwara United and AS Douanas begin their CAF Confederation Cup campaign with Sunday first-round qualifying first leg at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena.
Before participating at the Value Jet Cup, the Kwara United team thrashed Mokwa FA 3-0 in a friendly.
After reaching semi-final at Value Jet Cup, Azeez Mohammed’s side kick off the new campaign with optimism surging through the ranks.
The former Katsina United gaffer used the tournament to test some of the newly signed players.
Kwara United have managed to make it as far as the group stage in their campaign at the 2007 CAF Confederation Cup. They also reached quarter final of the retired CAF Cup in 1999.
The Harmony Boys ended the 2021-22 Nigeria Professional Football League season with 17 wins, seven draws and 14 defeats and their continental pedigree far outweighs that of AS Douanes.
The Abdourahamane Issa Maiga managed AS Douanas qualified for the CAF Confederation Cup after defeating bitter rivals US National Gendarmerie of Niger (USGN) 4-3 on penalties during the Niger Cup final in August.
They have already taken part in four friendlies this summer – including a 1-0 defeat to Buffles of Benin Republic in Niamey.
AS Douanes have experienced the taste of CAF Confederation Cup football on one occasion. The Customs funded side crashed out in the preliminary stage of the 2014 competition.
Sunday’s showdown will mark the inaugural meeting between Kwara United and AS Douanas in any competition.
Kwara United have already been dealt a hammer blow in the transfer market, as Junior Lokosa, Alao Danbani and Samad Kadiri left for greener pastures.
Much of the attacking responsibility is therefore set to fall onto the shoulders of Ahmed Jimoh, who has made the switch on a transfer from Gombe United.
Wasiu Jimoh, Afeez Nosir, Jide Fatokun, Issa Gata, Paul Samson and Wasiu Alalade are also useful options.
In contrast, AS Douanas have signed talented Niger youth international Alhabib Hassane who joined from AS Police.
Nigerian born striker Saviour Ogbonna was also recruited from Salitas of Burkina Faso. The 25-year-old knows the terrain very well having played for US National Gendarmerie of Niger (USGN) in the past.
The Nigerien outfit will also call on the likes of Mohammed Bashar and Issa Mossi Moussa “Chinese” for inspiration.
We say: Kwara United 3-0 AS Douanas
Kwara United have already demonstrated a penchant for scoring goals in their summer friendlies, which will certainly serve them well here.
AS Douanas are no pushovers away, but Azeez Mohammed’s side have the advantage of greater continental experience and will expect to claim a first-leg advantage before the return leg next week.