KADUNA – Kano Pillars head coach Ibrahim Musa has warned his players to not over celebrate their “historical” triumph in the 2019 Aiteo Cup to be ready for the August 10 clash against Ghanaian powerhouses Asante Kotoko in the preliminary first round of the CAF Champions League (CCL).
Musa led Pillars to a maiden Aiteo Cup trophy at the third time of asking after the Sai Masu Gida had fallen short against El Kanemi Warriors in 1991 and against Rangers in 2018.
Sunday’s 4-3 penalty shootout win over fellow northerners Niger Tornadoes at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna, represented the first time a team from Kano would be hoisting the trophy after Kano XI’s triumph sixty-six years ago in 1953.
And Musa, a Kano native who was also in charge when Pillars gave up a three-goal lead to lose the 2018 final couldn’t hide his joy of being the first to win the Aiteo Cup for his hometown club declaring his team “the happiest men in Nigeria’s football history” for their “historical” feat.
“It’s historical for me,” Musa told busybuddiesng.com on finally landing the Aiteo Cup.
“The last time Kano won this trophy was over sixty years ago. It has not been an easy journey; it’s a long journey. So, today we are the happiest men in Nigeria’s football history because back then they was no Kano [State], it was the Northern Region, sixty-six years ago.
“So, we will be the first people to win this trophy for our State, so, we are happy and I can’t express how happy I am for now.”
Despite acknowledging the special nature of his side’s achievement in winning the 2019 Aiteo Cup, Musa already has his eyes set on the next challenge for his team and has called for muted celebrations from his players so they don’t get carried away ahead of their all-important clash against the Porcupine Warriors at the Sani Abacha Stadium in two weeks time.
Musa hopes that rather than make them rest on their oars, the Aiteo Cup win can instead, spur his players to defeat 24-time Ghana Premier League champions and two-time CAF champions league winners Asante Kotoko on the 10th of August and put themselves in good stead to progress to the next round on their return to the Champions League for the first time since 2015.
“Notwithstanding [our victory in the 2019 Aiteo Cup], we have another task ahead of us on the continent. So, I hope we will not get carried away by these celebrations and lose the concentration that [we need] to face a big team which have big history in African football.
“Asante Kotoko are two-time champions, they’re the oldest team so I hope this winning will push us to face them in Kano to beat them so when we go back to Ghana anything can happen.”