Enyimba FC midfield star, Kelly Kester has spoken of his delight at his team’s steady rise up the NPFL table after an indifferent start to the season.
The reigning Champions struggled early in the domestic season as many factors combined to hinder the team’s away performances while recording slim home wins in unconvincing fashion that failed to replicate some of the team’s eye-catching displays that culminated in a league triumph last term.
The team’s quest to make an appreciable impact on the continental stage provided some sort of distractions for the team as also the non-availability of their traditional and spiritual homeground, the Aba Stadium due to seemingly unending renovation works.
On the pitch, new players were recruited for the team in double digits while a new head coach, in Paul Aigbogun was appointed to paddle the illustrious canoe of the People’s Elephant. Results were unconvincing at the start but the team’s pulsating qualification for the group stage of the CAF Champions League – the first Nigerian team to achieve it in five years – heralded a decent spell on the domestic scene for the team.
Players like Theophilus Afelokhai, Dare Ojo, Ike ThankGod, Chima Akas, Ikechukwu Ibenegbu, Joseph Osadiaye, Abu Azeez, Leonard Ugochukwu and former Sharks of Port Harcourt ace, Kester who were signed on at the end of last season have played prominent roles in the team’s resurgence after the initial lethargy which includes a current eight-game unbeaten run in the league.
In a chat with www.npfl.ng, Kester outlines how the team has managed to turn the corner and what the Aba Millionaires have in sight for their domestic assault.
“The team is blending gradually now and as you can see from the results we have been posting recently, it is surely getting better,” began Kelly who was signed from Shooting Stars in January.
“We had about fourteen players joining the team at the start of the season so it takes time for such group to blend. Gradually, we are getting the right chemistry and I also think our win in the Champions League also helped our confidence more because it was such a big deal for most of us.
“At a point last season, the team went eleven games unbeaten and our plan this season is to surpass that unbeaten run, hopefully before the end of this season, we will do that.”
On his own personal development, Kelly Kester was on the fringes in the opening months of his Enyimba career, managing just three substitute appearances in the team’s first nine games in all competitions. The Edo-born star has
however started each of the last seven matches, completing the match on each occasion. To him, patience was key.
“That’s football for you. When I joined the team it was a new environment so one really had to be patient, wait for your time and when that time comes, the most important thing is to grab your opportunities.
So I think that is what I have done and now, everything is going well.”
added Kester who wears the Enyimba number 12 jersey because of his idol, Super Eagles captain and Chelsea of England star John Obi Mikel.
Enyimba are currently placed 8th on the NPFL log with 27 points, four points behind leaders Rivers United but the CAF Champions League campaigners have three games in hand. Six out of a possible nine points will take them to the summit of the table at the halfway stage of the season