Only a few Nigerians gave Remo Stars a chance to grab anything from their trip to Rabat for the TotalEnergies CAF Confederation Cup clash against Royal Armed Forces, due to recent results by Nigerian clubs against Moroccan opposition, Sunday, September 11.
It was the day the team from Ikenne, a sleepy town, in Ogun State, made their debut in Africa’s second club competition and ended a losing streak of Nigerian clubs against Moroccan opposition, in Morocco.
By all standards, RAF is a bigger and more experienced side, who were former champions of the defunct African Cup of Champions Clubs, in 1985 and champions of the Confederation Cup, in 2005.
Incidentally, RAF defeated Nigeria’s Dolphins, now defunct, in the finals.
Back in 2019, Lobi Stars lost at home and away to Wydad Casablanca in the CAF Champions League, while Enyimba equally lost at Hassania Agadir, in Agadir, in the CAF Confederation Cup.
Rivers United lost to FUS Rabat, in the 2017 CAF Confederation Group Stage and Kano Pillars were crushed by a combative Maghreb Tetouan, in 2015.
However, the young side put up a brave outing to grab a 1-1 draw, on Sunday night, in Rabat and becoming the first Nigerian club to leave Morocco without defeat in recent times.
Agreed, RAF may not be in the class of Moroccan and African heavyweights, Wydad and Raja, but it comes next to the aforementioned two in terms of ratings in Moroccan.
In fact, RAF finished third in Morocco’s Botola League behind the duo.
On match day, the guile, self-belief, commitment and passion of Remo Stars surprised many.
Founded 12 years ago and the now the youngest Nigerian club to play in the continent, Remo Stars clearly proved a modest budget can produce results.
Diney Borges gave the host the lead, while Remo Stars replied with a header from newly signed Adams Olamilekan. The feat earns Olamilekan a place in the club’s history books as the first player to score for Remo in the continent.
Aside from experienced Ekundayo Ojo, who tasted continental football at Enyimba, the remaining players in the match day squad made their debut, in Africa on match day.
Fresh from the Super Eagles camp where he was one of the players invited for the two-legged Championship of African Nations Qualifier against Ghana, Remo Stars’ first choice goalkeeper, Kayode Bankole, put up a fantastic outing.
Bankole prevented the hosts from scoring and his confidence in goal gave his teammates the courage to fight till the end.
And one man must be credited for this result.
Like his squad, it was Daniel Ogunmodede’s first outing in the continent and it turned out to be an opportunity to showcase his coaching methodology.
Ogunmodede played a key role in the development of most of the player from the club’s youth system and spent a year at partner club, Feirense, in the Portuguese second tier league.
Lessons learnt in Portugal were put to test in Rabat and he came out in flying colours.
After the impressive outing in Rabat, Ogunmodede’s side return to host the Moroccans, in what will be a historic match, in Ikenne.