New Lobi Stars striker Alimi ready to make mark for ‘Pride of Benue’
By George Akpayen
After getting off the mark in the CAF Champions League this season, Lobi Stars new-signing Sikiru Alimi has vowed to play an influential role in the Nigeria Professional Football League’s outing this term.
Alimi and his teammates will compete on three fronts this season in the NPFL, the AITEO Cup and the CAF Champions League, and the striker is confident that the Pride of Benue will “go as far as possible” on all fronts.
It has not taken long for the forward to settle down at the Makurdi club after joining this season from Sunshine Stars.
WHY I JOINED LOBI STARS
He explained his decision to move to Makurdi saying it was the lure of Champions League football.
Alimi is hoping that the ‘Pride of Benue’ can advance to the group stage of CAF’s premier club competition this year.
“The reason I joined Lobi was because they are in the Champions League. I believe playing in the competition will give me a chance to play against top teams on the continent and at the same time be seen. But the biggest motivation is to have the chance to go far in the competition and that is possibly play in the group stage. We just want to go as far as possible in the competition,” said Alimi to npfl.ng.
But standing in their way of a place in the group stage are Kenyan 17-time champions Gor Mahia.
GOR MAHIA HURDLE IN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
For Alimi, it is a return to the continental football especially the CAF Champions League after his last outing in 2016 with Warri Wolves when they lost to Sudanese giants El Merreikh in the first round and this time he is ready to make it count despite Gor Mahia’s threat.
This time with Lobi, Alimi hopes to help his club see off their opponents.
“At this stage of the competition no team is a pushover. Gor Mahia are a big club in Kenya but we really want to make it to the group stage and that is our target. So the first leg game in Kenya is very important likewise the second in Enugu where we now play our home games for the Champions League,” Alimi said.
TARGET FOR NEW NPFL SEASON
On the home front, the past years has not been a rosy one for the power-playing striker. He has endured facing relegation with Warri Wolves and then a period of ups and downs at Sunshine Stars but individually his goals have stood him out.
Now the forward who scored seven goals for Sunshine Stars last season is keen to improve on that return by reaching double figures and at the same time help Lobi challenge for the title.
“Lobi have a good team and I believe that can help me score more goals than I did last season in the league. Of course scoring 10 or more goals will be good for me provided it helps the club in challenging for the title too,” said Alimi.
But first Alimi must face Gor Mahia and that remains his focus for now.