NPFL opener: Wikki won’t miss Obaje – Ganaru insists

By JOSHUA  TEKIDEKI

New chief coach of Wikki Tourists, Muhammed Babaganaru, has assured Bauchi football fans and club supporters that the team will not lose it’s bite in the NPFL with the departure of last season highest goal scorer, Godwin Obaje.

Godwin Obaje took the league by storm last season, ending with ended 19 goals to put Wikki in third place. His strikes opened the door for offers and he grabbed one and left for Europe.

Then club coach Abdul Maikaba also moved South to Akwa United to give way for Muhammad Babadanaru as new coach of Wikki who has taken time off to assure club followers that a new Obaje will be discovered to sustain the fire power of the team.

“Last two seasons around this time, Obaje was nobody, I think he was just an underdog that the team brought and developed. Nobody is indispensable, we have made very good replacement.

“We have some tested players and we also have some who are potentials that are ready to make names for themselves” were Babaganaru told www.npfl.ng.

He also has been discussing the perceived big shoes left by former Manager, Abdu Maikaba and the fans’ expectations.

While admitting that his predecessor left him a high standard of performance to match, Babaganaru says he can deliver results that will satisfy the fans and his employers. He added that he won’t lose sleep over the challenge but would do all that is necessary to achieve success..

The team ended on fourth place two seasons ago and improved on that last season with a third place finish under coach Abdu Maikaba

However Maikaba left at the end of the season paving the way for the management to engage Babaganaru while Mbwas Mangut from Heartland was employed as chief coach.

The club also signed 10 players with the likes of Omo Johnson, Zikiye Jonathan, Bature Yaro and others. Forwards Victor Alegbe and Shama Tenge returned from loan spells while five other players were promoted from the junior team.

There were also nine players that left, with forward Godwin Obaje the star departure having emerged as top scorer last season.

Now with the 2016/17 season about to start, Babaganaru said he is aware of the expectations of the fans.

“I know the expectations are very high, the team has set a standard from the last two seasons, they did very well and on my own part I know the fans expectation.

“They should expect a very good football, you know my philosophy and that I always play a passing game and we are going to do that.

“Our set objective is to finish either first or second which I know is the expectation of every Wikki supporter. I don’t want to set any target for the continental outing because the team has been absent on the continent for a long time”

Wikki will start the season with a home game against Nassarawa United and were involved in various activities during the break.

From organising seminars for players, officials and supporters, the club was also involved in pre-season tournaments and friendly matches all to the delight of the new Manager.

“We have done a lot, we have done a lot of physical and technical training to see that we improve the technical output of the team.

“We have worked on technique very well and we have played a lot of friendly matches, I think the team is 98 percent ready for the league”


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Fred Edoreh - Publisher

Born July 13, 1965, Fred Edoreh hails from Umeh, Isoko South, Delta State. He attended St. John Primary School, Iselegu, Mater Dei Collage Ashaka, St. Patrick’s Grammar School, Asaba for HSC and graduated in English and Literary Studies at Bendel State University, Ekpoma.
He went into journalism in 1990 with Newbreed Magazine and later crossed over to television production with Ultimate Sports and Soccerworld on the Nigeria Televsion Authority.
He subsequently moved to pioneer Internet publishing in Nigeria with Nigeriasports.com and was later employed at Silverbird Television from where he moved as Editor of Weekend Sports at Naational Mirror Newspapers.
He currently publishes the online sports website www.sportstalkafrica.com besides and also runs a sports marketing outfit, Westcoast Works and Projects, managing and marketing live radio broadcast of the Nigeria Professional Football League.

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