Two in-form teams in the Ahlan Cup meet in Friday’s Ahlan Cup semi final with either Akwa United or Elkanemi Warriors awaiting the winner in the final.
A cracking contest awaits at the Kano Pillars Stadium on Friday afternoon between Ibrahim Musa’s Pillars and Abdullahi Biffo’s Katsina United.
Kickoff is at 4pm.
Two teams that have obvious pedigree. Without a doubt, that adds an extra dimension to this match.
Ahead of their clash at the Kano Pillars Stadium in Sabon Geri, we take a look at how both sides face up.
The story so far
Pillars have been exactly as you would expect: diligent enough to overcome the hurdle (Kwara United, Plateau Uniyed, Niger Tornadoes, Elkanemi Warriors) and the banana skin (Kano Eleven).
Coming into the tournament with most of their new signings, Katsina has probably exceeded all expectations. Many pondered if they would even get through the group stages but eight points in Group B ensured their progress. Players like Lukman Mohammed, Chinedu Ajanah, Samuel Tswanya and Ebenezer Odeyemi are now in the right frame for the commencement of the 2018 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).
Kano Pillars: David Obiazo, Victor Denis, Idris Aloma, Chinedu Udoji, Stephen Eze, Jamil Muhammad Jamil, Kamal Sikiru, Rabi’u Ali, Nzube Aneazemba, Junior Lokosa, Nwagua Nyima
Yinka, Frank, Eric, Timothy, Ajanah, Faisal, Usman, Agboola, Lukman, Tasiu, Ebenezer
The key match-up:
Victor Denis vs Tasiu Lawal
Tasiu Lawal is in great form and has a telepathic understanding with the likes of Ebenezer Odeyemi and Lukman Mohammed. But in Denis, Tasiu meets an opponent who is very determined and unyielding. They should have an epic battle out wide.
Kano Pillars – Rabi’u Ali
It doesn’t feel so odd to be putting in Ali here. He is the captain and the commander of the midfield. He always lifts a gear when pulling on the yellow shirt, he’ll be keen to go even harder.
Katsina United – Lukman Mohammed
He’s still got it. In truth, he never lost it, even when he left Rivers United. Lukman is a glorious player to watch; an elastic rubber-man with unlimited energy.
Dogged though Katsina United are, and few could begrudge them their place at this stage of the tournament, Pillars are playing with all the verve and swagger of the first team. Either way, Musa will be rubbing his hands with glee at the depth available at his disposal but Biffo is one man with the magical touch.
The two teams have obvious pedigree but are far from unbeatable. Without a doubt, that adds an extra dimension to this match.