NPFL Returns As Pillars, FC IfeanyiUbah Tango In Season-opener
Former Nigerian champions, Kano Pillars will attempt to kick-start their 2016/2017 Nigeria Professional Football League season on a bright note when they host Federation Cup and Charity Cup champions FC IfeanyiUbah of Nnewi in the 2016/2017 season star opener today inside the main bowl of the Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano.
After last season’s disappointment, the Masu Gida have strengthened their squad with new players, including former Enyimba skipper Chinedu Udoji, who was amongst four players from his club to make the switch across the Niger.
Also, the 2013-2014 NPFL champions have brought back veteran CAF Champions League-winning coach, Kadiri Ikhana and signed on the likes of Isah Danladi of Plateau United and Idris Aloma of Enyimba who spent the most part of last season on-loan to Rivers United.
Ikhana, who joined the team as technical adviser for the third time after he led them to their first-ever NPFL title eight years ago, will lead the side out against the Anambra Warriors, who keep getting more confident after claiming two trophies of note in less than six months.
Pillars finished the recently-completed season in seventh position; a performance which prompted the Kano State government to dissolve the club management and reconstitute a new board immediately, with the mandate to help the Masu Gida regain their pride of place amongst NPFL clubs in the country.
Both sides have met four times in the NPFL, with Kano Pillars winning two, Abia claiming a win and a draw. The last meeting between both sides in Kano ended 2-1 in favour of FC IfeanyiUbah in Nnewi.
FC Ifeanyi Ubah will be looking to extend their dominance over the five-time champions tomorrow today.
The hosts return to their home turf ahead of the season opener against Federation Cup champions on Wednesday after two-week closed camping in Kaduna.
In the just concluded season, both teams won their opening fixtures, with Pillars coming from a goal down to win eventual champions Rangers Int’l 2-1 at the Sani Abacha Stadium and FC Ifeanyi Ubah getting the better of Giwa FC (who were eventually expelled from the league) 2-1 at the Rwang Pam Township Stadium, Jos.
Speaking ahead of the new season, Pillars new signing, Idris Aloma, believes his presence would be a blessing for Pillars and is confident that his move to the ancient city would bring more blessings to the four-time NPFL champions.
The left-back revealed that Pillars have made endless moves in the past three years to secure his signature but he thinks now is the right time to be at the club.
“I am very happy to be here and I am humbled by the kind of welcome I got when I arrived in Kano. That is really inspiring,” Aloma confessed.
“I was at Enyimba Int’l, we won the league and went to the continent. I left for Rivers United and we picked a continental ticket. These blessings will rub-off on Kano Pillars, since I’m here. “We have a strong squad that can compete for honours, the fans are expectant and they show a lot of appreciation each time they see the team.
“We will go far this season,” he assured.
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