Katsina United are all set to continue their irrepressible push for a maiden NPFL title on the back of their ruthless indulgence in putting teams to the sword in the nine-game old campaign, Naijafootballplus Okpetim Emmanuel takes a look at some of their emerging caveats under the stewardship of new coach Abdullahi Biffo.
There is a conventional leitmotif swiftly rising in the suburbs of Katsina town which has done well to hearten the spirits of the local folks in a way that one would hardly begrudge them even — the swagger and effervescence of their team, Katsina United is perhaps, one that lends itself to such.
Knowing the nature of the NPFL and the occasional flash-in-the-pan shows from teams, they could still be reeled in but then, credit to where it is due. After nine rounds of games in the division, the Chanji Boys are placed fifth, having scored a marquee fourteen times (the most in the division alongside Akwa United) and are provisionally just one win away from top spot.
And it could have been better. Blips which should not have been, say the 2-1 loss to Kwara United or the 1-0 defeat to Yobe Desert Stars were the one-offs; turn those into wins and we would be looking up to a very different thematic template here.
Perhaps, that had particularly been the bane of this team. Their topsy-turvy relegation ride for much of last season was not down to their inability to win games but their weakness in avoiding defeats, especially on the road. The quartet of eliminated Shooting Stars, Gombe United, ABS and Remo Stars all got the better of the then Baldwin Bazuaye-led side who just about managed to finish unscathed in 16th — that incurious separation from the worst.
This season, they seem to be following a brighter arc and though they are habitually yet to win on the road again, it is telling the free-scoring manner of their victories at home.
The Muhammadu Dikko outfit do no boast of the same level of players in the ilk of Mfon Udoh, Godwin Obaje, Stanley Dimgba and Co. but the likes of Eric Dufegha, Martins Usule and Tasiu Lawal are passably
untidy attackers, all scuffs and awkwardness, but are punching above their weights and hitting unprecedented levels of productivity nonetheless. Midfield dynamo, Destiny Ashadi has seemingly added much of end product to his inestimable endeavors and even defensive stalwarts, Ajanah Chinedu and 21-year old Usman Barau are chipping in with the needed goals — this side seem a crack-squad purposely built for a mondo title assault.
Then again, credit must go to manager, Abdullahi Biffo who had turned around the fortunes of this side and made them thrive under his guidance within a short period. The tactical nous of the former Abia Warriors gaffer was never in doubt, his pedigree unquestionable following previous stints at Giwa FC, Kogi United and Niger Tornadoes, away the notion of a seasoned professional.
Next in line to try to quell their dynamism is Wikki Tourists, and as well a chance for the Northern side to pick up some points from the unlikeliest of places, thus continuing their romanticized dream.
But we must be conscious enough to be aware that this is a budding team (lest we become trapped in surrealism and drop jaws should they cave in), it just help that their chances of mounting a novelty of title challenge, let alone a victorious one are very few. Katsina United have been consummate enough; even to a colossal degree under Biffo and that might just be the only anecdote for them in a campaign fast shapening up to be a success.