Lobi Stars of Makurdi star Kelly Kester has told www.aclsports.com that he has fond memories of his side’s first group stage opponents in the 2018/19 CAF Champions League; Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa.
Kester was speaking from Makurdi on Friday night shortly after his side were drawn against the 2016 champions in the group stage draws conducted at the headquarters of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) earlier in the day.
Lobi were drawn against Sundowns and two other former champions; Wydad Casablanca and ASEC Mimosas in Group A with Kester and his teammates opening with a home clash with Sundowns.
“The memories (of playing against Sundowns) still feels like yesterday,” said Kester to www.aclsports.com
“It was an amazing experience playing against a team that is well structured and has the right philosophy about how football should be played. They are a very physical side and at the same time loves playing the game on the ground,” added the towering midfielder.
Oahimije Kelly Kester played the entire duration of both games when his former side Enyimba faced Sundowns on their last visit to Nigeria in 2016. Kester’s side lost the game in South Africa 2-1 but defeated the already qualified Pitso Mosimane side 3-1 in Port Harcourt in their final group game.
“It was a great experience for me because that was my first time playing in the CAF Champions League. I still remember that screamer Dare ojo scored and over both legs, the game against Sundowns was really enjoyable,” he recollects with nostalgia.
Having played in both the Champions League and Confederation Cup in the past three years, Kester sure knows what the competitions are all about.
Commenting on his team’s group stage draws, the defensive midfielder acknowledged that it is a strong pairing but remains confident his side will continue to prove critics wrong.
“I will say it is the strongest group.
“Having two recent former champions and ASEC as we all know are a force in African football, but we are Lobi Stars and that Naija spirit of never-say-die always gets us through.
“I remember our game against Gor Mahia, a lot of people wrote us off but in the end we qualified, so we will take each game as they come and hopefully after the six games we’ll shock Africa and the world. I think if we do the right things we will go through,” submitted Kester.
Lobi Stars team coached by Solomon Ogbeide will leave Makurdi for a closed-camping in Ijebu-Ode this weekend ahead of their first group game against Mamelodi Sundowns on the weekend of January 12 in Nigeria.