The wait is finally over as football fans across Katsina State are set to troop to the Muhammadu Dikko Stadium Wednesday to witness their darling Katsina United go toe-to-toe with Wikki Tourists in one of the NPFL Group ‘A’ matchday 4 fixtures.
This encounter will serve as Katsina United first match of the season after they were placed on stand-by in the first two games due to Lobi Stars and Enugu Rangers engagement in the CAF competitions, while the matchday three against Rivers United was postponed due to some circumstances beyond the management’s control.
‘The Changi Boys’, who are gradually becoming one of the strongest teams in the NPFL after gaining promotion two years ago, will hope to replicate the form of last season that saw them end the league season in seventh position and also reach the Aiteo Cup semifinal where they lost on penalties to arch-rivals Kano Pillars.
Coach Abdullahi Biffo retained 98 percent of the squad he worked with last season and added another nine who will fit into the areas he felt the team were lacking in the 2017/2018 NPFL campaign.
Katsina United will now be further boosted by Super Eagles goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Niger Republic international goalkeeper Daouda Kassally; Akeem Balogun, Sherif Bashir, Abdulmutalif Sanusi and four other young stars from feeders team in the new NPFL season.
Wikki Tourists, who are now under former Akwa United Assistant coach, Zubair Ali, have been transformed after the Bauchi State Government reshuffled the old management and the team were also very busy on the transfer market to sign new players to build a formidable squad that will be competitive.
Recall that ‘The Changi Boys’ have not lost a single game on their home ground Muhammadu Dikko Stadium since they gained promotion to the Nigeria elite league back in 2017 and will do everything possible to ensure they maintain the record when they host Wikki Tourists.
Wikki Tourists will prove to be a hard nut to crack for the highly rated Katsina United after winning their first match of the season 2 – 1 against Niger Tornadoes Sunday.
However, Wikki bowed to Destiny Ashadi and Adah Joseph’s goals during their last visit to Katsina in August 2017.
Can Katsina United repeat this?
New signing from Funtua Sharks Umar Musa, Destiny Ashadi, Faisal Sani are all doubtful for this tie due to injuries and illness. The Super Eagles goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa will not also make the 18-man squad after he reported late to the team.
NPFL 2018 joint assist leader and Katsina United highest goal scorer, Destiny Ashadi is doubtful for this tie due to groin injury he suffered during a 5-0 win over FC International Abuja Sunday.
Meanwhile, Niger Republic International, Kasaly Daouda is expected to make his debut for Katsina United on Wednesday.
Joshua Agboola – Left winger
“It’s our first match of the season and we want to pick all the three points. It’s not going to be an easy game, but we have the necessary materials to execute the job as we don’t want to take the risk of dropping points at home.
“We will respect them because they are good as well. Remember they won their first match of the season against Tornadoes and that will give them the needed confidence to give us a tough fight.
“Yes, we played a 2 – 2 draw witht Pillars in our opening match last season but this one won’t be like that because it is a different ball game entirely.
I am very confident we are going to defeat Wikki.”
Both teams have met three times thus far in the NPFL. Wikki won 2 – 1 at the Tafawa Balewa Stadium in Bauchi and Katsina won the reversed fixture 2 – 0 courtesy of goals from Adah Joseph and Destiny Ashadi during the 2017/2018 NPFL season.
Their last meeting at the New Jos Stadium, the adopted home ground of Wikki Tourists during the 2018/2019 NPFL season ended in a 1-1 draw.
Form Guides in the last five NPFL games
Katsina United – LWWLW
Wikki Tourists – WLWWL
Katsina United – Destiny Ashadi
Wikki Tourists – Umar Abba
Venue: Muhammadu Dikko Stadium
Date: Wednesday, 24thJanuary, 2019