Mohammed Babaganaru had arrived Bauchi before the start of the season to fill a huge gap created by the departure of Abdu Maikaba who had led Wikki Tourists to two seasons of top four finishing. Maikaba’s departure stunned analysts who were surprised that he was leaving a continental-bound side for Akwa United.
Babaganaru, who was coming from Kano Pillars had endured two seasons of leading the former champions to barren runs and may have been a candidate for the boot. After five fixtures, it is looking like he is finding Maikaba’s results a mountain to climb. But it is still early days in the season.
In Lokoja on Match day 4, he wore a mournful look after his charges were beaten 2-0 by Niger Tornadoes in the midweek fixture and it was their second defeat in four matches of the season in which they have won and drawn one game each .
Babaganaru admitted it feels sad to go down in a game the way his squad did but quickly stressed that he is not under any form of pressure to better the team’s performance of last season which fetched them a CAF Confederation Cup ticket.
“We did not do enough today but live goes on”, the former Kano Pillars gaffer yelled out to www.npfl.ng. “The NPFL is a marathon race, not a 100m sprint. We have gone four games now and there are still 34 to go. We keep on working hard and improving on areas of deficiency in the team and hopefully we will get back into our strides”.
A comfortable 3-1 win against FC IfeanyiUbah on Match day 5 catapulted Wikki from 18th place to 8th, a reflection of the tight race in the NPFL in which a dropped point can see a side careen from top to mid table.
Babaganaru was quick to dismiss any suggestion that he is under pressure to surpass the achievements of his predecessor. “It is important for us to continue to work hard and get results. But I don’t think it is proper to insinuate that I’m under pressure to replicate or surpass my predecessor’s achievement here.
“No doubt they did well last season to earn the club a continental ticket by finishing in third place. We can only work hard for improvement, not an obsession to match or surpass my predecessor’s achievement. I’ve won the league title elsewhere, at Kano Pillars to be precise. So chasing a third best record shouldn’t be the yardstick”.
Babaganaru would go on to commend the League Management Company (LMC) for getting the 2016/2017 domestic top flight season underway early, saying such competitive league games are serving as good preparation for teams representing Nigeria in CAF’s club competitions this year.