Mike Idoko, the Vice-Chairman, Lobi Stars Football Club of Makurdi on Friday said the target of the club ahead of the 2019/2020 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season was to secure a continental slot.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Lobi Stars will begin their league campaign on Nov. 3 against Plateau United at the Rwang Pam Stadium in Jos.
Idoko told NAN that the players were mentally and physically prepared for the challenges ahead of the new season, adding that the acquisition of a new coach was a big boost to the club.
“You cannot have a 100 per cent preparation, therefore, so far, I think we have done a lot in terms of pre-season preparations as we await the commencement of the league.
“We kept playing preseason tournaments to prepare the minds of our players, keep them in shape as well as perfect our team strategy.
“We lost our coach, Solomon Ogbiede two weeks to the Super Six last season, may his soul rest-in-peace, however, we have acquired the services of one of the best coaches in the country, Gbenga Ogunbote.
“He has high pedigree and by the grace of God we believe that he can help us secure a continental slot and if possible, hopefully go ahead to win the league this season,’’ he said.
NAN reports that Ogunbote, a former Gateway United, Sunshine Stars, Shooting Stars and Rangers International Football Club of Enugu gaffer signed a one-year contract with the Makurdi based club.
Ogunbote guided Rangers to a third-place finish in the 2018/2019 NPFL Championship playoffs and also clinched a Confederations Cup spot.
During his two-year spell at Rangers, he won his first ever silverware in two decades as a coach when he guided the Flying Antelopes to their maiden AITEO Cup title in 35 years, defeating Kano Pillars 4-2 on penalties after regulation time ended 3-3 in 2018.
On his prediction for their first game of the season, Idoko said that it would be a tough encounter but expressed optimism that his team would emerge victorious.
“Its a local derby (North Central derby), we are playing Plateau United in Jos, therefore, it promises to be a nervy and mouth-watering encounter.
“It has always not been easy when both sides clash but we are hopeful of carrying the day.
“There were a lot of challenges confronting the league which led to the long delay in the kick-off of the 2019/2020 season, however, I am confident that the league would begin as soon as possible.
“We just came out of a consultative meeting after the draws were made in Abuja on Monday, it is clear that we have challenges but I believe that in the next three weeks the league should commence.’’
The long awaited league is expected to kick-off on Nov. 3 and end May 30, 2020. (NAN)