The Pride of Benue commenced their campaign in the group stage of the lucrative club competition on Friday with a 2-1 home win over Mamelodi Sundowns with their focus on securing a positive result before their doubleheader fixture with Wydad Casablanca.
Vice Chairman of Lobi Stars, Mike Idoko noted that the management deemed it necessary to allow the team move straightaway to Ijebu Ode before the trip to Abidjan through Lagos to enable the team to correct the mistakes noticed in the home game with Sundowns.
“I want to thank the Benue State Government and the fans of Enugu who have made Enugu to be like a home to us even while we are playing away from home. We thank our supporters too,” Idoko told Goal.
“We are happy with this win but it is just the first game and nobody is overexcited about it. We can’t judge yet at the end of the first game. There are still five tough games to be played. It was a good start for us but I am sure the coaches will see areas that they must improve on ahead of next game.
“It is the reason why they are going straight to closed camping so that the areas of deficient can be spotted by the coaches and improve upon before the next game. Three of our key players were not around. We did not have Sikiru Alimi, Samad Kadiri, and our skipper, Anthony Agbaji who have traveled out for greener pasture but we were still able to manage with what we have to get the maximum points.
“Most people didn’t give us a chance while others are of the view that we won’t go far because the league season has not started when the campaign began. Most leagues especially that of our opponents have started but we were still able to hold our own and secure the result we desired.
“We are proceeding to Ijebu Ode to resume the preparations for the game with ASEC Mimosas of Cote d’Ivoire. We needed to put the players into consideration because they are important. Even though it will add additional cost to camp them in Ijebu Ode for days before the next game but we have to do it to ensure that training sessions go according to plans.
“We are grateful to Enyimba and Abia Warriors for agreeing to release their players to us for the international assignment. I must commend them. I commend Felix Anyansi Agwu for giving us advice on what to do. He supported us. Clubs are supposed to help one another in Nigeria because teams on the continent are not representing their states but are representing Nigeria."