HOW strong are the pillars on which Kano Pillars are standing? Very strong, according to club coach, Baba Ganaru, who has vowed the club, will retain the league trophy.
“I am a professional coach and I should be forward and positive in everything I do. That is why I am optimistic that we can go ahead to become champions again. The victory over Wikki Tourists is just the beginning of better things to come for us this season,’’ Ganaru said.
Though, it is still early days, but the defending champion’s ability to retain the crown will be tested today when they host Bayelsa United at the Sanni Abacha Stadium, Kano.
Pillars look formidable with the return of Super Eagles trio of defender, Papa Idris, forwards, Manir Ubale and Gambo Mohammed, but the boys from Bayelsa have the capacity to demolish them the way they dimmed Lobi Stars of Makurdi in week one.
History is also on the side of the Bayelsa Boys, as they have not lost any game in their two previous visits to Pillars, running out with scoreless draws in 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 seasons.
In Ilorin, the Afonja Warriors host the Sunshine Stars of Akure, who will be gunning for a first win against Kwara United at Ilorin Township Stadium in three seasons.
Controversy overshadowed their first clash in Ilorin last season, which Kwara United won the replay 1-0 and traveled to Ijebu Ode to secure a one all draw. During the 2010/2011 season’s visit, Sunshine lost 2-0 in Ilorin.
Elsewhere, Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC), which made it a winning start last week, will be without Gabriel Adikwu when they play Dolphins today.
Adikwu is out for-three weeks following injuries he got from a collision with a Gombe United player during the Oluyole Warriors 2-0 triumph over the Savannah Scorpions on the opening day of the season.
3SC drew goalless with Dolphins in their reverse fixture visit to Liberation Stadium Port Harcourt, despite being one-man down following Adikwu’s expulsion. The Ibadan side won the first leg tie 1-0 at Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba, Ibadan.
Two wounded clubs, Warri Wolves and Heartland will fight for all the three points today in Warri. They both lost their opening games to Sharks of Port Harcourt and Nembe City respectively.
Wolves’ goalkeeper, John Dosu will be available for selection when Heartland visits. Dosu got a head injury in the 1-2 defeat by Sharks in Port Harcourt, but he has now resumed full training ahead the visit of the back-to-back Federation Cup kings.
Also available for selection by Coach Solomon Ogbeide is defender, John Agbawu, who has recovered and resumed full training after an ankle injury.
Heartland has not lost any game to Wolves in Warri in their last two visits. In 2010/2011 season, the Naze Millionaires ran home with a 2-2 draw.
Last season, both sides settled for a scoreless draw, a result that will set the tone for a make or mar confrontation in this one.
Gentleman Alphonsus Dike’s factor could be the deciding factor as he leads Nasarawa United to this epic fixture at Enyimba Stadium Aba.
Dike, a former Enyimba coach, who took them through the 2006 CAF Champions League campaign, is making his third visit to Aba since quitting the club with his two previous trips while in Rangers ending in defeats.
His knowledge of the People’s Elephant could unsettle the hosts who will be gunning for their first win of the season. The Mbaise, Imo State born tactician will want to match Daniel Amokachi’s feat as a former Enyimba gaffer, who took Nasarawa United to continental football.
Gombe United Coach, Maurice Cooreman is likely to overhaul Gombe United squad that crashed 2-0 to Shooting Stars in the league opener when they file out against host Abubakar Bukola Saraki (ABS) of Ilorin today.
Team Manager of the Savannah Scorpions, Alhaji Kwairanga confirmed that some key players who did not make the trip to Ibadan would now get into the squad for the ABS game.
“We did not start well in the season by losing our first game so this home match against ABS is a must win tie for us. We are going to carry out minor overhaul in the team which lost 2-0 at 3SC by introducing the likes of striker Sani Gidado and Abubakar Nazim, who did not play in Ibadan for obvious reasons,” Kwairanga said.
Meanwhile, Sharks Coach, Augustine Eguavoen will be on the Garden City Blue Angels dug out when they confront Kaduna United in Kaduna, officials have confirmed.
The former Super Eagles captain and later coach has been in contract dispute with his employers over non signing of contract papers but Sharks have revealed that the former Enyimba coach will return to his duty post in the game against Kaduna United.
“He will be on Sharks dug out against Kaduna United. He will get his papers before the trip. Right now the document is undergoing final perusing at the (Rivers State) Justice Ministry because the Commissioner for Sports wants every detail properly documented so that it will a lasting working document even when he leaves office,” Sharks spokesman, Peter Obaje said.
“It’s going to be a two-year contract. And part of it is that while in Sharks employ, Eguavoen should not take up any National Team job because that is what affected the team during John Obuh’s reign and which accounted for Sharks refusal to renew his contract,” Obaje added.
Giant killers, Nembe City will attempt to capitalise on the ‘internal crisis’ in Enugu Rangers’ camp to record their second win in the elite division.
|< Prev||Next >|