New Caledonia club AS Lössi didn’t quite have the dream debut they’d hoped for in the OFC Champions League in 2016.
The side lost all three of their matches to finish bottom of Group B, with a 2-1 loss to eventual runners-up Team Wellington the bright spot of the campaign.
They’re returning for the 15th edition of the competition this year and traveling to Tahiti where they’ll join AS Dragon, Erakor Golden Star and Solomon Warriors.
Once again they’re in Group B, but this time they’re hoping for improved results.
“We’re not the favourites, but we’ll be doing everything we can to finish in one of the top two places which opens the path to the next stage,” Lössi executive member Jean-Marc Ventoume said.
“We’d even like to finish first so we host the quarter-final at home.”
The team has been through an overhaul in the past 12 months, including the resignation of coach Stéphane Drahusak as well as the loss of leading goal scorer Richard Sèlè to fellow Champions League participants AS Magenta, but the vibe remains positive.
With the outgoing players there has also been a number of key signings which the side will be relying on.
Two of the most interesting prospects are Raoul Wenisso and Clarence Nyipie, U-17 and U-19 internationals respectively, who will bring youth, and big-game experience with them to Stade Pater.
Lössi open their 2018 OFC Champions League campaign against AS Dragon in the second of two Group B matches on Sunday 11 February.