Sportsration

Fidelis Ilechukwu, Head Coach, Lagos-based MFM FC, on Friday said he was wary about his side’s chances in Sunday’s CAF Champions League clash with Real Bamako of Mali.

MFM take on hosts Malian outfit Real Bamako in one of the CAF Champions League preliminary round, first leg fixture at the Stade Modibo Keïta on Sunday.

Ilechukwu told NAN that his team was very wary of their opponents, adding that it would be a difficult match as MFM FC was not adequately prepared for the continental competition.

“I can’t promise anything concerning the CAF Champions League because of our situation now.

“The truth is that we are not ready for the continental competition. Football is not magic and we cannot perform magic.’’ Ilechukwu said.

The Olukoya Boys had finished in an unprecedented second place, just four points behind champions, Plateau United in the 2016/2017 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season.

However, they haven’t started the 2017/2018 NPFL season on a positive note, and this could affect their prospects on the continental stage.

The church-owned team have won only three of their opening seven games and lost four.

While it is the norm to see NPFL teams aim to win at home and gain points on the road, MFM have not been convincing enough on their own turf.

In all games played at the Agege Stadium so far, they have failed to assert their dominance in the manner they did last term and Ilechukwu admitted that he was frustrated about his team’s form.

“We are facing a lot of challenges as our form, especially in away from home games have dropped drastically, which is a serious concern for us ahead of our trip to Mali.

“Our attack also hasn’t been sharp enough owing to the fact that we have not been able to get an adequate replacement for our all-time top scorer Stephen Odey, who joined Swiss outfit FC Zurich last year.

“So, we will try our utmost best to manage with what we have but much shouldn’t be expected from my team on the continent,’’ he said.

The Olukoya Boys will host their Malian counterparts in the return leg scheduled for Feb. 20 at the Agege Stadium in Lagos.

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