CAF Champions League: Sunshine Stars ready for Esperance

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Sunshine Stars FC are aware of the prowess of Esperance Sportive and will strive not to disappoint Nigerians this weekend, an official of the club said on Tuesday in Abuja.

The club?s General Manager, Mike Idoko, said the club had a burning desire to win the CAF Champions League and was prepared to go all the way to win it.

“We are aware of Esperance?s prowess, and as defending champions they are a team to fear. But we are ready to fight for the Champions League trophy,” he said.

Sunshine Stars FC is the only Nigerian clubside left in the CAF Champions League.

The Akure-based club is in Group A with Esperance, Etoile Sportive du Sahel, also of Tunisia, and ASO Chlef of Algeria.

Idoko, the Executive Director, Ondo Football Agency (OFA), said the club was aiming and hoping to have a successful outing.

“We know they are a good side and they?ve been there and are also the defending champions,? he said. “We also have at the back of our minds that we are meeting the defending champions and we know what it?s like to be a champion.??

The former Warri Wolves FC General Manager however said Sunshine Stars would be driven by the desire to emulate compatriots and former competition winners, Enyimba International.

“Our expectation is to win the Champions League trophy. We are going to give it a very good fight to make sure we perform better than Enyimba, which won the trophy in 2003 and 2004,” he said.

Idoko gave assurance that the club?s preparations were in top gear to actualise the vision.

“Our players moved to camp immediately after the 2012 Federation Cup competition match they had last weekend and they are still camping in Abeokuta,” he said.?

The former board member of the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) said the players were having a closed camping programme and would move to Ijebu-Ode on Thursday for a fuller preparation.?

He said the move to Abeokuta and Ijebu-Ode for camping, as against Benin that was earlier scheduled, was the players? idea.

“The players asked for this because it will give them the opportunity to be in tune with the environment,” Idoko said.

He lamented the team?s loss to Nasarawa United FC of Lafia on Saturday in the 2012 Federation Cup?s Round of 32, saying the loss really affected the team.

The Sunshine Stars FC General Manager, however, blamed the loss on the inability of some of the team?s players to play due to injuries and illnesses.

“Last Saturday, we lost in the Federation Cup to a team some people underrated and I want to state clearly that any team that underrates Nasarawa United does so at its own peril,” he said.

Matches in the group stage of the CAF Champions League will begin on Friday, July 6, with Sunshine Stars hosting Esperance in Ijebu-Ode on Sunday, July 8.

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