Why Pillars can perform Kano miracle

Kano Pillars before their 1pm fixture in Abuja in January
By Fisayo Dairo

NIgerian League champions Kano Pillars have a date with destiny on Easter Saturday against Moroccan Champions Moghreb Atletic de Tetouan in a second leg first round clash in the 2015 CAF Champions League.

One wonders the sort of coincidence that this game brings, clashing with Easter Saturday, a day when Christians celebrating Easter across the globe believe the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (over 2000 years ago) was still in the tomb, waiting for the greatest miracle of all time to resurrect back to life. Yes! That miracle happened, and so this writer believes another miracle, this time on the pitch can happen for Kano Pillars. We have had the Damman Miracle, we witnessed the Istanbul Miracle and I think another one may just be in the offing.

To refresh your memory, Kano Pillars lost by a whopping 4 goals to nil away in Tetouan (a fortnight ago to Easter Saturday), against this team that featured at the 2014 FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco. Mohsine Iajour was the man that netted a hattrick against the Nigerian Champions and makes this a mountainous task for the Northerners.

It is quite unthinkable to imagine a team with a 4-0 cushion will fail to progress over two legs BUT this is Africa where anything CAN happen. It has to be said that despite their wonderful preparations for this year's CAFCL, the armed robbery attack on the Pillars team on Thursday March 5, 2015 seemingly left them in tatters with key players suffering gunshot wounds. One of them was Gambo Mohammed who is still out till the present moment.

Well, that is bygone and Pillars themselves realized what task they have in their hands and started strategizing for this second leg immediately after that embarrassing first leg loss. First was their decison to have today's game played at 2pm Nigerian time which should serve as some sort of advantage with the weather.


Many have argued that Pillars themselves would be affected by the weather but I dare state here that during the last Glo Premier League Super Four-Invitational Tournament in Abuja, Pillars played their first match at 1pm and their last four games at 3pm, this is within range because I was in Abuja for those games and I think a January weather in Abuja can't be too far from what is obtainable in Kano.


Furthermore, the absence of key men such as Gambo Mohammed and rather unfortunately Christian Obiozor is another reason to be pessimistic but then Adamu Hassan was Pillars' topscorer in the league last term and along with the likes of Abdul Haruna (who can be a handful aerially) and Adamu Mohammed, Pillars have enough going forward.


You may be surprised to wonder if there are any positives from a 4-0 bashing but yes there is one (for me). After Iajour's 7 minutes of madness/brilliance in the first half, Pillars did not concede in the 2nd half until very late in the game. This means Pillars are not as bad as what they did in the first half and Tetouan may have also been flattered in that first half. They also managed to create a couple of clear cut chances which were not converted.


I'm sure very many will agree with me on this. A team that boasts of some enterprising wingers such as Tony Edjomariegwe, Ezekiel Mbah, Azeez Shobowale and other attackers will create good chances but they have to be calm and composed to finish it off.

The fans will be there, adrenalin will be pumping to the heavens but yes, football is a game of pressure. In the face of everything, be calm and see it out even if you don't get the early goal(s) you may be dreaming of.


The last time any Nigerian team faced a Moroccan side was at the African Nations Championships (CHAN 2014), Nigeria trailed Morocco 3-0 at half time in that quarter-final duel at the Cape Town Stadium in South Africa but guess what, Stephen Keshi's boys rose from the dead to level in the second half and win in extra-time.

If that team that included Pillars' Rabiu Ali can score three goals in the second half alone, folks, Pillars can score 5 in 90 minutes.

The last time a Nigerian side achieved something close to this comeback was in 2011 when Sunshine Stars lost 4-1 in Angola against Recreativo do Libolo and they came back in Ijebu-Ode to secure their 3-0 win and progress.


This is the fourth time (in my memory) that Mohsine Iajour will come up against Nigerian oppositions. While he always laugh at the start, he's never had a last laugh.

 - At the AYC in 2005, Iajour scored twice against Nigeria in the semi-finals including a first half extra-time goal. With seconds remaining, Obinna Nsofor scored a solo effort to take the game to penalties where Nigeria won.

 - Later at the WYC in Holland, Iajour was one of the topscorers but Nigeria thrashed his Moroccan side in the semi finals.

 - Iajour also scored one of the 3 goals in the CHAN game I mentioned earlier but ended up on the losing side again.

 MATCH DETAILS: Kano Pillars vs Moghreb Tetouan
 VENUE: Sani Abacha Satdium, Kano
 Referee: Kouame Ndri (Coted'voire)

It is the Easter weekend and I have this feeling in me that (sounding like my Dad now, a Pastor), Something that will shake the foundations of soccer in Nigeria nay Africa is about to happen in the City of Kano.

I won't be able to watch but I will definitely keep tabs on it knowing that in the season if Sai Sai, Sai Masu Gida will rewrite the history books.

Happy Easter y'all. ALOHA

Picture: Kano Pillars' team before their 1pm fixture in Abuja in January.
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  1. I don't see Kano Pillars scoring 5 unreplied goals today.