By Uchenna Iyoke
Coach Abdul Maikaba of Wikki Tourists flies below the media radar but has a wealth of experience having worked with several clubs in the elite league. He started his sojourn as an assistant to Mohammed Baba Ganaru at Pillars and made his mark winning two titles. He also worked at Enyimba International and defunct Sharks of Port Harcourt before taking charge of the Tourists last season. Abdu led the team to a fourth place finish last term, narrowly missing out of continental football. He stayed back with the Bauchi side, persuaded with an improved package and has kept faith by taking the club to the top of the log.
Mohammed Baba Ganaru is well known for leading Kano Pillars to back to back wins in the 2012/2013 and 2013/2014 seasons after which he surprisingly left for Nasawara United. He would return as his successor couldn’t deliver to the expectations of the Kano fans. His return hasn’t been the fairy tale stuff as he led Pillars to finish on the eight spot last season and are currently 4th on the league table. Ganaru is a good tactician but his abilities have yielded not enough for the former champions.
Striker Godwin Obaje of Wikki Tourists is the league’s current top goal scorer with 13 goals, Obaje is big, has good control of the ball and his one time shots does the magic most often. His aerial ability is also a credit and he bullies defenders with his size. The goal poacher is a strong force in the Tourists camp and is likely to start against Pillars.
Emmanuel Edmond is the latest sensation in the Pillars set-up whose arrival has been seen as a blessing for the Sai Masu Gida. Edmond’s physicality can bulldoze any defense line, skillful with the ball and always in the box, his goal scoring tricks can as well make the difference.
Harrison Madu of Wikki Tourists is a box to box midfielder and good passer of the ball. His marking abilities makes all the difference with other midfielders and though not known for scoring, his passes is most often the determining factor.
Ifeanyi Mathew joined Kano Pillars from El-Kanemi Warriors this season after successes with the National U-20 team and a short spell with the Super Eagles. He is a skillful midfielder, good dribbler, makes 80 percent accurate passes per match, his profound qualities are mostly crowned with goal scoring. Ifeanyi is a star to check out as his crafty moves can do the damage.
Peter Ambrose is seen in the heart of Wikki’s back line and he is reputed to be a no nonsense defender. Tall, huge, with good marking skills and control, his confidence has made him one of the most regular players at the Bauchi team. Peter is also good in aerial contests.
Jamiu Alimi is Kano Pillars’ central defender, signed from Shooting Stars Sport Club this season after playing for Nigeria in the CHAN. Alimi has similar qualities like Ambrose of Wikki, but his seeming fretting at the back line often scares the fans and technical bench. Yet the talented defender remains the favourite to stop Obaje.
Emeka Nwabulu is the Wikki Tourists goalkeeper and has played 18 of their 22 matches this term, conceded eight goals and kept 12 clean sheets. His quality reflexes and saves made him outstanding so far and no doubt one of the safest hands in the league. The shot stopper is likely to be in goal for the league leaders when they file out against Pillars.
David Obiazo is one of Pillars reliable goalie, he made his mark while at Elkanemi Warriors two seasons ago and later moved to Heartland, played for one season before joining the Sai Masu Gida. Even though not a tall goalkeeper yet his best asset is the aerial saves and his quick long kicks occasional initiates a counter attack. Obiazo has six clean sheets to his credit and is the current first choice at the former champions. But he may face competition with the arrival of Ojo Olorunleke from Giwa Fc.