For the first time since 2010, Bayelsa United make a return to continental football following their impressive performance during the 2012/13 season.
The Yenagoa side finished third last term and earned the ticket to play in the Caf Confederation Cup.
It was a painful exit back in 2010 as the team couldn’t proceed beyond the preliminary stage of the Caf Champions League after winning their first league title in 2009.
If 2010 was bad, 2009 wasn’t as the club reached the semifinals of the 2009 Caf Confederation Cup, on their debut.
The team return to familiar ground where they recorded their best achievement in Africa.
Algeria’s Entente Setif prevented the club from reaching a historic final in 2009.
Five years is a long time so it’s a new team, under a new management and even a new coach after Ladan Bosso’s sudden switch to newly-promoted, Abia Warriors, last week.
With the exit of Bosso, the club’s hierachy has turned to his assistant, Richard Bubagha.
Bubagha learnt his trade at Ocean Boys after retiring from football and worked under Tunde Disu, Lawrence Akpokona as well as Emmanuel Amuneke at Ocean Boys before adding experience under Bosso at United.
“We’re ready for the assignment,” the new gaffer said to supersport.com.
Bubagha will turn to the club’s top scorer last term, Peter Ebimobowei, for goals when they face Konzo.
Interestingly, Ebimobowei is the only player left in the team who was part of the club’s continental debut in 2009.
The winger was also part of the Caf Champions League squad in 2010.
“It’s a different team altogether when the present side is compared to the 2009 team. However, we have a team that is experienced,” he told supersport.com.
Key Players for Bayelsa United
Apart from Ebimobowei, Bubagha will also count on Beninoise international and club captain, Salomon Junior, who has experience on the continent.
Junior was in Benin’s Afcon squad in 2010 and played in Champions League with Benin side, ASPAC.
Others with continental experience include former Nigerian international, Mutiu Adegoke, former junior international, Samuel Tswanya, who can play at right-back and left-back as well as Eric Frimpong.
Barring injuries, Uche Ihuarulam should partner Ebimobowei, in the attack.
Glo Premier Season
Bayelsa United head into this contest without a league match and will be in a hurry to forget their performance at the Glo Premier League Pre-season Tournament, in Abuja.
After three matches against rivals, Enyimba, Kano Pillars and Warri Wolves, the club managed two goals and conceded seven to finish bottom of the four-team group.
Opponents: AS Konzo
It’s the first-ever appearance in Africa for Konzo after finishing third in the league behind giants, AC Leopards and Diable Noir.
Bayelsa United must watch out for Tiecoro Sissoko, who scored the all-important away goal that earned Konzo the ticket for the first round.
The duo of Alexis Ngatse and Christ Bakaki produced the goals when the Congolese won 2-0 at home.
Others: Joe Ombandza (goalkeeper), Mipia Kombale, Yannick Bienatiki, Tsoriele Kabangu, Yannick Bienatiki, Tresor Engosso, Tsoriele Kabangu, Oumar Toure, Christian Mimy, Judea Mouandzibi, Genti Ndissa, Paul Itou and Alexis Ngatsé
Stade Alphonse-Massamba-Débat (also named Stade de la Revolution) in Brazzaville is the national stadium of the Republic of the Congo.