Katsina United barely escaped relegation from the NPFL last season, but they have shown they mean business in two major pre-season tournaments ahead of the new season.
SCORENigeria takes on coach Abdullahi Biffo on his new team and what their expectations are come the new campaign.
The interview –
SCORENIGERIA: What have you taken from the two pre-season tournaments you have led Katsina United?
BIFFO: We have gained a lot of confidence to show that we are really doing a big business and I believe Katsina United will be a team to beat this coming season.
You only recently joined this team and you were able to guide them to semi-final at the Gold Cup in Ilorin, now you are also in the semi-final of the Ahlan Pre-Season Tournament in Kano. What is the secret?
Well, our aim of coming to the competitions is not to win the trophy. Every club want to win as many trophies as they could, but we see this tournament as an avenue to prepare the team, to step up our preparation and to see how ready we are for the new season, also to test the players mental and physical strengths.
I just joined Katsina United a month ago and I want see how far they have been able to adjust to my philosophy.
I am very happy that, I met these set of players because they are young, coachable and they can easily adjust to any kind of pattern, this is a kind of bonus that I am enjoying here for joining Katsina United and I am sure we are a team who will go places..
Looking at your team at the Ahlan tournament, they have played five games so far and conceded only one goal, which was even from the penalty spot. What have you been telling the defence line that has made them so strong?
Yes, I tell the team that if you don’t concede a goal, you can’t lose a match.
So, the first thing you have to think about is to defend our goal, before thinking of how to break the opponents’ goal.
It has been my philosophy that you need to defend your goal before you think of breaking your opponents’ defence and it has been working well for us here.
Your next match is against hosts Kano Pillars, who also won the Gold Cup in Ilorin, do you think your boys have what it takes to defeat Pillars in the semi-final of the Ahlan Pre-Season Tournament here in Kano?
Well, I think Katsina United can beat any team at any time but playing against Kano Pillars is going to be another good test for us.
We have to give them their respect as one of the best clubs as far as Nigerian club football is concerned, but that does not mean we will go to the pitch and watch them play, we have to go all out and see how we can get victory against them on Friday.
I told them they should forget about the name Enyimba and that they should go all out and give their best and it worked out, the same mentality is what we are taking to the game against Pillars.
If we play the same way we played against Enyimba, I don’t see any reason why we should be scared of any big team.
By Kola Daniel in Kano