Lobi Stars midfielder Kelly Kester has assured that his side will overturn their 0-1 first leg deficit and progress to the first round of the 2018/19 CAF Champions League when they face UMS de Loum on Wednesday.
Kester who joined Lobi from Akwa United at the expiration of his contract in October played full ninety minutes of the first leg encounter in Yaounde last Wednesday and he told www.aclsports.com that their confidence has not wavered at all by the slim loss.
“We still remain very confident because we have a very good and solid team,” began Kester to www.aclsports.com
“We were very unlucky not to convert any of the many chances we created in Yaoundé and yes I know that no two games are alike but I strongly believe we have enough quality in the team to progress,” added Kester.
Kester is one of an experienced group of players that Lobi Stars signed ahead of this season’s tournament – their return to continental hostilities after five years -.
The towering midfielder who has played in the CAF Champions League and Confederation Cup for Enyimba and Akwa United respectively in the past three years believes their experience will be of advantage to the side.
“It (our continental experience) is really an added advantage because the team is a blend of youth and experience and we believe the more experienced players can help the less experienced ones to handle the pressure that comes with playing at this level,” stressed Kester.
Nigerian teams have struggled to make good impact on the continental scene in recent years, a fact acknowledged by Kester. This fact is one of the things motivating the Solomon Ogbeide coached Lobi Stars in this season’s tournament especially as they are the sole representatives of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) in the tournament.
“We are playing for our names and the badge,” said Kester when asked what his side’s motivation for this season’s challenge is.
“In recent years, Nigerian clubs have not really been doing well in the continent except for Enyimba last season that reached the semis of the CAF Confederation Cup.
“We are aware that we are representing Nigeria in the continent and all eyes are on us. That is enough motivation for us to go as far as we can, but first, we need to win (on Wednesday) and progress to the next stage,” Kester submitted.
The venue for Wednesday’s return leg is the Aper Aku Stadium in Makurdi. Lobi Stars who won the Nigerian Super Cup last month will be hoping to seal a spot in the last round before the Champions League group stage where they will meet either Gor Mahia of Kenya or Malawian side Nyasa Big Bullets.