One has to go back to 2014 when Kano Pillars last won the Nigerian Professional Football League title and that’s an awful long time considering that they’ve become a formidable force having claimed three league crowns between 2012 and 2014 after taking the maiden one in 2008.
Sai Masu Gida have failed to make any impact since then, not appearing on the continental scene since 2015 and this is despite the massive financial resources pumped in by the Kano State Government.
As things now stand#NPFL18
— League Management NG (@LMCNPFL) March 23, 2018
Pillars were under the tutelage of Caf Champions League winning coach Kadri Ikhana last season but the team grappled in the first half. Subsequently, Ibrahim Musa took over the reins at the Sanni Abacha Stadium in an acting role and the team began to thrive especially with the experience and resplendence of Rabiu Alli as well as the emergence of mid-season recruits Nyima Miyanga from Lobi Stars and Junior Lokosa from First Bank FC which saw them finish 2017 in eighth place.
Not the kind of position a four-time league champion is supposed to be in but there were positive signs and Musa was confirmed as the new head coach ahead of the current campaign and the men in yellow have been firing on all cylinders this time around as they sit third on the log after 13 games.
Lokosa remains top of the pile pic.twitter.com/I2VPU6gJzM
— League Management NG (@LMCNPFL) March 20, 2018
In addition, they have shown some gusto as well as cupidity for success in the early stages of this entertaining season so far. The former league champions are ready to compete again and look reinvigorated under Musa. This wonderful start should not come as a surprise because they won two of the three pre-season tournaments they took part in – the Gold Cup and Ahlan Cup.
These were tournaments that prepare teams ahead of the new season but in previous years Sai Masu Gida fumbled and it affected their form into the main campaign. This time however, they dominated both competitions and the result is old players along with new recruits like Nzube Anazemba and Adamu Hassan have blended in very well.
Pillars current position on the table and also amassing 21 points from their opening 13 games is better than they were at the same point last year and one man making headlines for all the good reasons is Lokosa.
LBA has announced Kano Pillars' Junior Lokosa as Player Of The Month for February.
— FreeKick Naija (@FreeKick_Naija) March 15, 2018
With first choice striker Gambo Mohammed out of favour this season, the Badagry-born Lokosa – who scored five league goals in his debut season, has taken his chance with both hands and is proving to be the real deal this season.
The former Bridge FC forward has already notched 11 goals in just 12 games that he has played so far this term. What’s more is that he has scored against big sides in seven-time champions Enyimba, reigning champions Plateau United, 2016 league victors Rangers, 2016 Federation Cup Runners-up Nasarawa United and 2016 league runners-up Rivers United.
With 11 goals so far,Kano Pillars Junior Lokosa is on the verge of breaking Mfon Udoh's goals record this season.
— Emeka Nwani (@Mekus_Mekus) March 20, 2018
Lokosa is the new goal king in town and there seems to be no way to stop his tracks. He also looks poised to finish as the NPFL top goal scorer for this year if he continues this rich vein of form and all eyes will be on the 24-year old to see if he can eclipse all-time top scorer Mfon Udoh’s record of 23 goals in a single season.
Kano Pillars are back in the mix again and the goals of Junior Lokosa may be crucial to seeing them lift a fifth league title in their 28 year history and also making another continental appearance.
Can Kan Pillars bring back the glory days this year? Kindly share your thoughts in the comment box below.
Follow Samuel on Twitter: @Undisputed_Jsam
Photo credit: Google Images and LMC Media